20-km-a-day roadmaking is a financial strain: NHAI chief

May 12th, 2010 - 10:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) The target of building 20 kilometres of road per day has led to a “huge financial strain” on the government that is funding highway development programmes through various instruments, said National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) chairman Brijeshwar Singh.
However, expressing confidence that the target of 20-km road per day is achievable, he said the work-in-progress will be 19,000-km by March 2011.

He added that the target is easily achievable with speedier acquisition of land.

“The objective of building 20 km road every day has placed a huge financial strain on the government. The road development target has been cramped into five years with awarding process for nearly 36,000 km to be completed in the next three years,” Singh was quoted as saying in an official statement issued here Wednesday.

“The central road cess and the tax-free bonds are the main source of funding for the government’s portion in the highways project. However, the government is depending on a number of other sources like market borrowings, foreign direct investment and additional toll revenue to finance the seven-phase national highways development project (NHDP),” Singh said in Mumbai last week.

Senior NHAI officials met fund arrangers, merchant bankers, investors, rating agencies and stakeholders in the country’s financial capital with an aim to highlight its funding requirement for the NHDP.

The NHAI chairman said funds are required not only for the government but also for the private sector in the road development programme based on public-private partnership model.

The programme involves a total investment of Rs.9 lakh crore till 2031-32. “The NHAI needs Rs.10,000-20,000 crore annually as borrowing from the domestic and international market for a period of next 15 years,” Singh said.

On the golden quadrilateral project, Singh said the project is 98 percent complete with a few stretches in Orissa to be completed.

“In the North-South corridor, certain stretches, including four-laning of Jammu-Srinagar highway, Jammu-Pathankot, Madurai-Kanyakumari and parts of Sagar-Lucknow stretch are remaining. In the East-West corridor, work is being done on the Maharashtra and Chattisgarh stretch of the corridor.”

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