The Centre has been asked to complete all delayed highway projects before taking up new ventures. A parliamentary panel looking into the matter has expressed its disappointment over the status of the incomplete projects which are pegged at around ₹3.15 lakh crore.
According to reports, the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways have a huge backlog of at least 888 projects involving more than 27,500 kms in different parts of the country. In its latest report tabled in Parliament, the parliamentary panel on Transport, Tourism and Culture have asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to prioritise its delayed road projects.
"The committee is anguished to note that 888 road projects under the Ministry are delayed at present, which amount to ₹3,15,373.3 crore involving a length of 27,665.3 km," the 31-member panel chaired by TG Venkatesh was quoted by new agency PTI.
According to the panel's head, the delays in the projects will also mean more consumption of fuel beside recurring increase in the overall cost to complete the highway projects. "The committee desires the Ministry to focus and prioritise completion of ongoing delayed projects instead of announcing and awarding new road projects in the country," it said.
The panel particularly noted the delay of projects in Maharashtra where the rate is said to be higher than other states. It said, "equally worried over long delays in completion of four-laning project in Gaya-Hisua-Rajgir-Nalanda-Bihar Sharif section and the Patna-Gaya-Dobhi road project connecting Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya." It also mentioned other incomplete projects like Goa to Karnataka and Goa border to Mumbai project besides construction of a bypass on NH 77 at Muzaffarpur, in Bihar and ongoing road projects at Kaudiyala in Uttarakhand.
"The committee feels that if this trend continues, it would not be possible for the Ministry to meet the targeted timeline for completion of Bharatmala Pariyojna Phase -1 by 2025-26, which is already lagging four years behind the originally targeted completion of Phase -1 by FY 2021-22," it said.
The ministry has so far been able to award only 2,517 km till January 2021 against a target of 6,469 km during the current fiscal. On the other hand, the ministry has only been able to complete construction of 2,273 km, as against the target of 4,571 km under the Bharatmala Pariyojna Phase -1 project.
(With inputs from agencies)