News Column

On the road to faster growth

July 11, 2014

IN HIS maiden annual Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday proposed an investment of `37,880 crore in National Highways Authority of India ( NHAI) and state roads, includes `3,000 crore for the north eastern region of the country.

A total of 8,500 kilometers of national highway will be constructed during the current financial year, Jaitley has announced.

He said the BJP government will initiate work on select expressways parallel to the development of industrial corridors.

Jaitley said faster growth of roads is a commitment of the present government.

"The sector had taken shape from 1998-2004 under NDA-I. The sector again needs huge amount of investment along with debottlenecking from the maze of clearances.

A country of the size of India must have a transport network which can ensure faster travel across cities that are geographically distant.

This will also improve the supply chain in transporting goods across cities," he added.

The BJP government had earlier this month blamed the previous UPA regime's policies like award of projects without land acquisition for the poor performance of road sector wherein about 60 per cent of NHAI's scheme are embroiled in disputes.

In a White Paper on NHAI, the government had said that due to warring ministries of the previous UPA government and faulty policies the highways sector has hit a low in the last few years.

The BJP had also pointed out that NHAI was under pressure to award projects without land acquisition and other regulatory clearances which resulted in 189 out of 332 NHAI projects in 20 states involving `27,210 crore stuck in disputes.

After a dismal show in 2012-13, the ministry had scaled down its projects award target by nearly half to 5,000 km in 2013-14, compared to a target of 9,500 km in 2012-13. It could award less than 2,000 km projects in 2013-14.

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Source: Mail Today (India)

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