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Govt targets 18,000 km highway construction in FY23, at 50 km/day: Gadkari

The target is ambitious as the ministry in 2021-22 set a 40-km per day construction goal, but later revised it down.

highway | Highway construction | Nitin Gadkari

Dhruvaksh Saha  |  New Delhi 

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari | Illustration: Ajay Mohanty

The road transport and highways ministry aims to construct a record 18,000 km of highways in 2022-23 at a pace of 50 km per day, said minister said on Thursday. The FY23 target is 33 per cent higher than that last fiscal.

The target is ambitious as the ministry in 2021-22 set a 40-km per day construction goal, but later revised it to 32 km per day at 12000 km for the full fiscal.

“This is a target… I’m not giving a guarantee that we will achieve it. But targets are always high, and it will push us to try and meet them,” said Gadkari at an event. The government also plans to award construction contracts of 18000 km in FY23, he added.

Sandwiched between two waves of Covid-19 and monsoon rains, the government, through its implementing agencies, reportedly constructed 10,457 km of national highways in 2021-22, which was a 24 per cent decrease from the previous fiscal.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget speech, had said that the government will add 25,000 km to the national highways network. Later, road transport and highways secretary Giridhar Aramane clarified that it contains both new construction, widening works, and conversion of state highways into national highways.

While India’s construction trajectory has largely been on the upside, sector experts have previously expressed concern that 50 km per day construction could prove a tall order, even with the government’s infrastructure push.

Gadkari also said that the 1400-km Delhi-Mumbai expressway has already seen 60 per cent completion, and will be completed 90 per cent by December. In the Budget session of the Parliament, the minister had said that four key highways, including Delhi-Mumbai, will be fully completed by December.

The expressway, which experts believe can be a game-changer for logistics, is being built at a cost Rs 1 trillion.

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First Published: Thu, May 05 2022. 22:11 IST