Can’t build 20 km of roads a day this year, says official


New Delhi : The road transport and highways ministry may have drawn up an ambitious plan to build 20 km of roads per day, but according to the country’s highways authority, this is not possible this year.

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“The plan of building 20 km per day is ambitious and we are trying our best, but this year we will not be able to achieve the target,” said Brijeshwar Singh, chairman of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), on the sidelines of a business meet here.

“This year, at the most we will be able to build 8 km per day. The target set by the minister can be achieved only by the end of next year,” Singh added, referring to Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath’s target of building 7,000 km road length annually, or about 20 km a day.

“I’m not saying that we cannot achieve that, but not this year. There are many issues and we are working to sort these out and speed up work,” the NHAI chief said.

Kamal Nath Tuesday noted that there was a need to make radical changes in the way his ministry operated.

“The ministry for road transport and highways needs a complete overhaul. We have to set strict time-bound targets to achieve our goal of constructing 7,000 km of roads per year,” he said at the same function.

In what could be another impetus to the development of roads in the country, the ministry is mulling setting up an expressway authority on the lines of the NHAI.

It is also thinking of setting up a Road Finance Corp, similar to the Power Finance Corp.

The corporation will help increase public investment in road building and make credit available to such projects.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in the union budget for 2009-10 presented July 6, increased the allocation for highways development by 23 percent and for rural road schemes by 59 percent.