Giving a big boost to the India’s highways development programme which had hit a rough patch in the last three-four years, finance minister Arun Jaitley proposed an investment of Rs 37,880 crore in the sector.
This includes Rs 3,000 crore for building roads in the North-East.
“The sector (roads) had taken shape from 1998-2004 under NDA-I. The sector again needs huge amount of investment along with de-bottlenecking from maze of clearances,” Jaitley said.
Development of access controlled expressways has also got a leg up with the government setting aside Rs 500 crore for project preparation. “We will initiate work on select expressways in parallel to the development of the industrial corridors,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley said the road ministry plans to construct 8,500 km stretch of national highways during 2014-15. This translated to 23 km of highways constructed per day. During last fiscal, the ministry managed to build just 5.2 km of highways constructed per day.While the highways ministry awarded some 7,500 km stretch of projects since 2012, work has not started in about 60% of the projects on account of various factors including fund crunch faced by developers and delays in getting various regulatory clearances.
In a white paper released recently by the road ministry it has blamed ministries such as finance and environment for working in “silos.” “Ministries whose contribution was integral to the timely completion of projects went about their task unmindful and unconcerned with the crisis they were creating due to delayed clearances/ sanctions, secure since the system demanded no accountability from them,” the paper said.
Welcoming the increased allocation for the sector, highways minister Nitin Gadkari said, “It will give a fillip to infrastructure development in the country. India has emerged as one of the largest PPP markets in the world with over 900 projects in various stages of development.
In order to streamline PPP framework, an institution called ‘3P India’ with a corpus of Rs 500 crores has also been proposed.”