Government sets 20 km per day highway target
The target construction of national highways has been set at 20 kilometres per day, secretary at the ministry of road transport and highways AK Upadhyay said. This translates to an annual construction of more than 7,000 kilometres over the next one year. At the same time, 150 kilometres of roads are being constructed per day in rural areas, he said while addressing delegates at an international summit organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
In 2009-10, the target length of highway construction was 3,165 kilometres but the actual construction was 2,693 kilometres due to delays in land acquisition, procurement of material and construction by developers or contractors.Upadhyay said the proposed investment requirement will be about 146 billion dollars in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) and a 40 per cent private sector involvement will mean a whopping 58 billion dollar investment in roads and highways under the public private partnership (PPP).
“Roads are the most essential part of infrastructure for providing industry and agriculture with the connectivity for markets for growth in production and trade, and more so for improving the quality of life for its citizens.”
At present, 211 projects in PPP mode are underway across the country with investments of 32 billion dollars, he said. Meanwhile, Planning Commission member B.K. Chaturvedi said the government will improve dispute resolution mechanisms to avoid delays which lead to cost over-runs. The bidding processes will be transparent and conducted in a competitive manner, and arbitration authorities will strive to dispose disputes speedily and effectively. The country plans to spend over a trillion dollars in infrastructure development during the 12th Plan, up from 500 billion dollars in the 11th Plan. The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and dedicated freight corridor projects will lead to enormous amount of traffic which will require good quality roads, highways and expressways. Manish Agarwal, Executive Director at PwC, said the contract structures and risk-reward mechanisms need to be suitably amended to ensure win-win situation for all stakeholders. “While the pace of development is expected to increase in future, effective mechanism to monitor and ensuring quality service delivery will be a challenge.” KK Jajodia, chairman of ASSOCHAM national council on industrial and freight corridor, said existing capacity constraints can be addressed by PPP model for accelerated infrastructure development.
India has an extensive road network of 3.3 million kilometers. Roads carry 65 per cent of freight and 80 per cent of passenger traffic in the country. The number of vehicles has been growing at an average of 10.16 per cent per annum over the past five years.