The Centre might have accorded “priority” status to development of roads and highways in the country but the actual progress on the ground has left much to be desired.
For the third consecutive year, the Road Transport & Highway Ministry has failed to meet the ambitious target of constructing 20 km of roads per day. In 2009, the then road transport minister Kamal Nath had set the ambitious target for the sector, which is also being continued by his successor CP Joshi.
In 2010-11, the ministry was able to construct around 6 km of roads per day. As against the target of completing construction of 2,500 km of roads during this period, the ministry managed to complete just 1,700 km by March end.
The tardy pace of construction has left the Planning Commission concerned.
In a review of the sector’s performance recently, BK Chaturvedi, Planning Commission member in charge of the infrastructure sector has expressed concern over the slow progress. “The ministry has slipped behind in meeting most of the targets set for 2010-11. The pace of construction needs to be stepped up. The ministry also needs to step up the award of road contracts,” Chaturvedi told HT.
The slow progress of the road transport and highways sector has also caught the attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who will take up the issue when he reviews the ministry’s performance expected to take place on June 8.
In 2010-11, the ministry managed to award 5,000 km of road contracts as against the target of 9,000 km. “The pace of award has, however, picked up recently which is a positive trend,” said Chaturvedi.
He said that the plan panel has also told the ministry to fast track the restructuring of National Highway Development Authority. “Not much has been done there,” he said.