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Business News/ News / India/  Govt reworks highway targets for FY24
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Govt reworks highway targets for FY24

It may now peg the target for highway construction for FY24 at over 14,000 km, the most built in a year, from a modest 12,500 km target kept at the beginning of the year.


NEW DELHI : The government is reworking its highway-building target for the current year as it looks to fast track infrastructure in a year of multiple state polls, ahead of general elections next year.

It may now peg the target for highway construction for FY24 at over 14,000 km, the most built in a year, from a modest 12,500 km target kept at the beginning of the year. To be sure, it has failed to meet road targets in the previous two years.

A fresh target is being worked out after a nudge from the minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari who has all told all construction agencies to fast-track work in line with the growing need for better and faster connectivity.

Mint had earlier reported that the government is looking to raise construction of highways this year to take it to an all-time high.

“The pace of construction of highways has gone up from 11.6 km a day in 2014 to around 30 km a day now. We are trying to increase it further," Gadkari said at a press conference to mark nine years of the Narendra Modi government.

Highway construction reached its peak in covid year 2020-21 when the pace touched 37 km of construction per day with 13,327 km of highways built. However, the pace fell in FY22 and FY23, with targets unmet.

“There is expectation now that about 6,000 km of highway may be built by NHAI and another 6,000 km by the ministry’s road wings while about 1,500-2,000 km may be built by National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL) this year," secretary road transport and highways Anurag Jain said.

He added that fresh targets were still being discussed with the agencies and a higher but realistic target would be finalised thereafter.

State-owned prime highway developer NHAI had earlier set a target of building 5,060 km of road in FY24, up from 4,882 km built in FY23.

This may be raised now while NHIDCL will build an additional 400-500 km of highways.

An official said construction will pick up pace in the current fiscal as awards of roads had improved substantially in the last few months, and many of the projects where work was nearing completion, especially in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, will become operational soon.

If bad weather does not impact work this year, record levels of highways will become operational in FY24, he said.

Highway construction in the pre-pandemic period of FY20 spanned 10,237 km at a daily rate of 28.04 km. The pace increased during the first pandemic year (FY21), when lockdowns helped accelerate construction, resulting in a record 13,327 km of highways built at 36.51 km per day.

In FY22, the rate slowed again to 10,457 km at 28.64 km per day.

For FY22, the road ministry initially aimed to construct 14,600 km of highways—or 40 km per day.

However, it later revised the goal to 12,000 km.

Similarly, for FY23, the target remained low at 12,200 km, even though road minister Nitin Gadkari had previously suggested that 18,000 km of highway construction at a daily rate of 50 km could be considered.

Gadkari said that Indian highway road network was second largest now after the United States at 1,45,240 km and he is hoping it would come closer to the US’s number this year.

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Updated: 27 Jun 2023, 10:12 PM IST
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