Asserting that his ministry was well on course of constructing 20 km of roads each day, Roads, Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath on Friday said that awards for constructing 12,000 km of roads would be finalised next year.
Nath’s claim about constructing 20 km of roads each day is at variance from those projected by the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission’s estimates are that the highways ministry has just built 5.5 km per day during the first year of UPA-II.
For the next fiscal, the Planning Commission has fixed the ministry’s target to construct 2,500 km of highways at the rate of 6.8 km of road construction each day.
Quizzed on the differing figures, Nath said he could speak for his ministry and not on behalf of the Planning Commission. “What they (Planning Commission) do perhaps is just juggling figures. I really don’t know how they arrive at these figures. They are the best to tell you ,” Nath told reporters here. “There is a time cycle of three years in completion of road construction activity and this needs to be taken into account.”
Nath asserted that between June 2009 and May this year, 118 projects with a combined length of 7,478 km were awarded and 5,187 km of road building completed.
Projects awarded last year (7,478 km), along with with the carryover figure of 4,870 km of construction work under progress from previous years, put the total work in progress to 12,348 km.
“This is much more than the declared target of constructing 20 km of roads each year, Nath said at a press conference. By next year, work on progress will be more than 24,000 km, he asserted.
Elaborating on his ministry’s achievements during the first year of UPA-II, Nath said that 62 projects for 5,617 km costing Rs 58,632 crore were awarded, compared to only eight projects awarded in 2008-09.
“This is the highest achievement in one year since the inception of the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP), Nath said.
Reeling off figures, Nath said that 5,617 km of roads were awarded last year, which is more than the total of 5,053 km of the five years of the NDA regime.
Further, he said that during the last one year, 2,717 km of roads were completed under the NHDP — which is more than the 2,390 km of the five years of the NDA regime.