Mumbai-Goa highway work can get over by March ’22 if we get funds: NHAI
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has assured the Bombay high court (HC) of completing the road-widening work of the Mumbai-Goa Highway by March 2022 – well before the December 2022 deadline – provided the State Bank of India (SBI) lends an additional ₹200 crore at the earliest for the project.
The affidavit stated the highway was in a motorable condition before the onset of monsoon. However, due to heavy rainfall and traffic, potholes, patches and water stagnation had developed on certain sections of the highway, which was being repaired immediately.
The affidavit was filed by NHAI project director Prashant Fegade in response to the public interest litigation (PIL) by advocate Owais Pechkar, a resident of Chiplun and a regular user of the highway. Fegade submitted before the division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni that it was complying with HC’s July directions to provide an update on the status of the project.
The affidavit, apart from responding to Pechkar’s petition for the expeditious completion of the road-widening project, also responded to his plea for fixing and repairing of potholes on National Highway-66, which is prone to accidents. Pechkar’s petition stated that in the past 10 years, accidents had claimed 2,442 lives due to potholes and ongoing road-widening work.
The bench had directed the authorities to put in place safety measures to avert mishaps.
While responding to the contention of ‘slow progress’ of the project, the affidavit stated that due to financial constraints, the authority had resorted to a one-time fund infusion (OTFIS) and had managed to assign ₹540 crore for the project. The amount to be raised through lenders was pending.
The affidavit stated that if SBI and other lenders would extend a further ₹200 crore the project could be completed by March 2022.