Home / Industry / Infrastructure /  NHAI needs to build 50km of highways per day to hit target

NEW DELHI : NHAI faces the uphill task of building over 50 km of highways per day in five months to complete a targeted 12,000 km in FY23 after the pace of construction slackened in the first seven months to reach just a third of the goal.

Between April and October, NHAI could manage just 4,060 km of national highways as against 4,450 km built in the same period of pandemic-hit FY22, a drop of around 8.8%.

As per the latest data from the ministry of road transport and highways, though construction has faltered this year, award of projects has picked up pace. However, numbers have remained flat at 5,007 km.

In April-October of FY22, NHAI could award just about 4,913 km of highways.

More awards is another yardstick to judge the how much highway construction is happening in the country. Higher awards results in more highway construction.

While the government has not provided any reason for the weak performance this year, an official in the ministry said disruptions from the Omicron wave and a prolonged monsoon prevented the NHAI from completing the targeted 12,000km last year, and the trend seems to be continuing this year.

Nevertheless, the ministry still hopes to reach 12,000 km given that agencies have already been asked to push up construction and that the government is flush with funds to get roads completed at accelerated pace.

“First-half road constructions are generally slow but we hope that this activity will pick up pace now, as has been the case earlier as well, and goalposts would be reached," said an official not willing to be named.

But signals of a slowdown in India’s road sector seem to be getting stronger with each passing day as inflation and rising interest costs make it difficult for investors to put their money in road projects where returns could be delayed or inconsistent.

A ministry official said the current development is in line with a three-year trend where construction remains slow in the first six months but picks up thereafter.

“Even this year, we have reached more than 90% of the target, meaning the shortfall may be just of 1,000 km, which would be easily made up before the end of the fiscal," said the official.

Queries sent to the ministry of road transport and highways remained unanswered till the time of going to press.

 

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