Think six lanes. Think 80 km per hour. The dream of criss-crossing the nation with wide roads is getting bigger after more than a decade of building four-lane highways.
The government is looking to set up an Expressway Authority of India on lines of National Highways Authority of India to develop and manage expressways across the country, Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath said on Tuesday.
“Plans for the new organisation will be ready in three months and will then be sent for cabinet's consideration,” Nath told reporters on the margins of a CII conference.
India currently has just about 400 km of expressways that have at least six lanes.
According to government data the average speed on Indian highways is barely 35 to 40 km per hour, half the world average of 70 to 80 km per hour.
“We are ready now. Necessary changes have been being made in the model concession agreement to make the projects more bankable,” surface transport secretary Brahm Dutt said.
NHAI chairman Brajeshwar Singh said, “To make land acquisition easier, the authority would put in place 150 land acquisition units across the country that would exclusively deal with problems pertaining to this.”
NHAI has mooted an exit clause for road developers wanting to get out of projects. This is expected to increase the risk appetite for firms.