The government may have to cut down on new road expansion projects in the next fiscal, following indications of only a modest hike in funds for the road transport and highways ministry in the upcoming general budget.
In any case, the ministry has been able to build just about 7 km of roads per day during the current financial year against its target of building 20 km per day.
Sources said the finance ministry is likely to allocate approximately Rs 23,000 crore to the road ministry in 2012-13 against Rs 20,000 crore that was allocated to it in 2011-12.
“We had sought around Rs 29,000 crore in the upcoming budget for undertaking new highway development projects in the next fiscal,” said a source.
The ministry has now decided to drop new projects that it had proposed to take up in the first year of the 12th Plan. This includes road development in remote tribal and backward areas for which the ministry had proposed to spend Rs 50,000 crore.
With the pruning of the budget, the ministry would go ahead with only the approved schemes which include developing 7,000 km of single-lane roads to two lanes during the first year of the 12th Plan (2012-2017). During the 12th Plan period, the road ministry intends to upgrade 20,000 km of single-lane roads to two lanes. “We will also take up work on the approved road projects in Naxal-hit areas and the northeast region,” said an official.
Other projects that will be shelved include the port-connectivity programme, which would have linked over 30 minor ports, and airport connectivity. It has also been decided to put another ambitious scheme – to develop roads on a pilot basis in some of the industrial corridors along the proposed Delhi Mumbai Industrial Development Corridor – on the backburner for now.
Road projects awarded and completed in 2011-12
Road projects awarded till January 2012: 4200km
Target to award by March 2012: 7300km
Target to complete kms of road work before March 30, 2012: approx 3500km
Work completed so far in 2011-12: over 1500km