NHAI accelerates highway building, completes highest ever construction of National Highways in FY 2019-20
Published On Apr 07, 2020
National Highways are the most critical infrastructure for the speedier, efficient transportation and the logistics sector. The government fast-track this vital piece of infra development by aggressive policy focus.
India’s road network is over 5.8 million kilometre, the second largest in the world and expanding with brisk speed. Road development and the network of highways is enormously critical to realise India’s economic potential and develop the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The Indian government has been focussed on this goal with some ambitious plans and huge investment commitment.
India’s road network is the backbone of the economy with over 60% contribution to the movement of goods. Today, due to inadequate infrastructure, India’s overall logistics cost to the GDP is somewhere between 12-14%. In contrast, the same in developed countries stands around 7-8%. This impacts on the cost of the final products, making the consumer pay more for goods. This also adversely affects India’s export competitiveness too.
The robust transport and logistics supply system is highly critical for India, and the network of the highways is the most crucial investment to transport essential goods and services across the length and breadth of the nation. The government is taking the right step in the area.
NHAI completes higher every highway in a year
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has accomplished the construction of 3,979 km of national highways in the financial Year 2019-20. This is the highest ever highway construction achieved in a financial year by NHAI. The construction pace as noticed in last years has seen steady growth with 3,380 Km construction in the FY 2018-19. Continuing the same trend with the development of 3,979 km of national highways during FY 2019-20, NHAI has achieved an all-time high construction since its inception in 1995.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has envisaged an ambitious highway development program Bharatmala Pariyojana which includes the development of about 65,000 km of national highways. Under Phase-I of Bharatmala Pariyojana, the Ministry has approved the implementation of 34,800 km of national highways in 5 years with an outlay of Rs 5,35,000 crore. NHAI has been mandated the development of about 27,500 km of national highways under Bharatmal Pariyojna Phase-I.
In order to accelerate the pace of construction, large no. of initiatives have been taken to revive the stalled projects and expedite completion of new projects:
- Streamlining of land acquisition and acquisition of a major portion of land prior to the invitation of bids.
- Award of projects after adequate project preparation in terms of land acquisition, clearances, etc.
- Disposal of cases in respect of Change of Scope (CoS) and Extension of Time (EoT) in a time-bound manner
- Procedure for approval of General Arrangement Drawing for ROBs simplified and made online.
- Close coordination with other Ministries and State Governments
- One time fund infusion
- Regular review at various levels and identification/ removal of bottlenecks in project execution
- Proposed exit for Equity Investors
- Securitization of road sector loans
- Disputes Resolution mechanism revamped to avoid delays in the completion of projects.
Image courtesy: NHAI
India with an accelerated focus on highway development is moving towards leveraring its full potential to becomes efficient in the transport and logistics sector. The construction of highways for the free flow of goods, services and seamless mobility is the most critical for economic progress.