With highways development picking up pace, minister Nitin Gadkari has set an all-time high target of constructing 41 km of roads per day in 2016-17, up from the present rate of 17km/day.
While the target for construction has been set at 15,000 km from 6,300 km in 2015-16, the award target has been increased to 25,000 km from the previous 10,000 km. This is two-and-a-half time more than the target that was set in 2015-16.
Gadkari finalised the targets early this week. “Buoyed by the success of meeting the target for award and construction in 2015-16, Gadkari feels the ministry can take up more work. He has ramped up both the award and construction target for this fiscal,” said a highways ministry official. “I am confident we will achieve it,” Gadkari told HT.
Earlier, the ministry had set a conservative target of awarding 15,000 km stretch and constructing 11,000 km this fiscal. “But the minister struck it down saying it was not enough,” said an official.
The overall budget of the highways ministry has also seen a 31% rise in 2016-17, to Rs 57,976 crore from Rs 44,255 crore in 2015-16.
Elaborating on plans to expand the highway network, Gadkari added, “We have decided to increase the highway network to 2 lakh km from 96,000 km. The process of developing access controlled expressways has also started. Ten stretches have been identified.”
The ministry has also decided to four lane all such highway stretches where the traffic is over 10,000 pcu (passenger car unit). Presently, only such stretches are four-laned where the vehicular traffic is over 25,000 pcu.
Ministry officials said that a series of measures initiated to decentralise work and streamline land acquisition has resulted in highway development gaining momentum.