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Aim to Finish 300 Highway Projects by 2019

August 10, 2018

In the run-up to the 2019 general elections, the road transport and highways ministry is identifying 300 highway projects with a total length of around 15,000 km for completion by March 2019. The ministry will spend around Rs 1.5 lakh crore towards these projects, officials said. Projects in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and West Bengal — populous states that are seen critical to the electoral fortunes of the ruling BJP — are being taken up on priority. The party had won 200 seats in these states in 2014. Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari will hold a review of the ongoing national highways projects in Goa on Tuesday, officials said. Preliminary discussions for the same were held on Monday. Gadkari will review more than 700 projects with project directors and concessionaires, and officials of state governments, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and road transport ministry. Out of these 700 projects, around 300 would be identified for early completion,” a ministry official said. “The year 2018 has been declared as a construction year by the ministry. Of these projects, 427 are being implemented by NHAI and 369 by the ministry of road transport and highways. Gadkari has also asked officers and contractors to complete work on projects which were awarded before March 2015. Critical projects for which the government has kept the completion target of March 2019 include the remaining two phases of the 96-km Delhi-Meerut expressway. NHAI is likely to raise Rs 60,000 crore through domestic and international borrowings to meet its spending requirements. The ministry also expects to raise around Rs 20,000 crore by leasing out its existing highway projects to private funds for a period of 30 years. Investors would pay the government upfront and would have the rights to collect toll on selected highways during the concession period.

 

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