Racing against time to approve National Highway (NH) projects, the road transport and highways ministry appraised projects for approval with a total capital cost of Rs 85,033 crore only in March, the last month of the financial year. This was nearly 74% more than the cost of the projects appraised for approval during March 2022.
The government data show that in March 2022, the ministry appraised projects worth Rs 48,907 crore for approval.
Officials admitted that though usually the ministry appraises and approves more projects in the last month of every financial year, this year it was exceptionally high and most of the projects were from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Ministry sources said the pace of meetings of the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) and appraisal was more to exhaust the budget allocated to the ministry by March 31.
According to official data, 99 projects with a total length of 3,198 km were appraised by the SFC and recommended for approval. In March 2022, the number of such projects were 82 projects with a total length of 2,892 km.
Sources said now the NHAI has decided to have a month-wise target for SFC, approval and award of projects rather than keeping them for the last quarter of the financial year.