Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said good road infrastructure was crucial to achieving nine percent growth, targeted for the next Five Year Plan (2012-13 to 2016-17), and adequate investment would be made towards that.
At the same time, he insisted that the awards on private sector were placed in a fair and transparent manner so as to dispel any fear or charges that the government was resorting to any form of favouritism or arbitrary decisions.
"Infrastructure will play a key role in achieving our growth target of of nine percent. Our effort is to double the investment of $500 million in the 11th Five Year plan to around $1 trillion in the 12th plan," the prime minister said.
"It is also necessary to ensure projects are awarded in a fair and transparent manner to avoid suspicion of favouritism," he told a conference on 'challenges and opportunities in public-private partnership in national highways'.
According to Road Transport and Highways Minister C.P. Joshi, the government will award contracts under public-private partnership to lay around 7,800 km of national highways worth an estimated Rs.50,000 crore ($11.1 billion) by the end of this year.
"Contracts worth Rs.21,000 crore have already been awarded in the first four months," he said, hoping that the target of 20 km of national highways every day would be met.