A month wise action plan will be created for 235 road and highway connectivity projects yet to be awarded with specific focus on maximizing award by December 2022 and March 2023. A review meeting of the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan (NMP) said this is to address the critical infrastructure gap projects.
A Transport Ministry order said that these identified projects spread over the Ministries of Steel, Fertilizers, Ports, Shipping and Waterways, and Defence.
The maximum number of roads need to be built for the Defence Ministry with 168 projects being identified. Ports, Shipping and Waterways Ministry comes next with 61 projects, Steel has five, while Fertilizer has one project. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) need to implement these projects. The status of these roads will also be tracked on a monthly basis.
It has also been decided that geo-tagged data of Automated Testing Stations and Registered Vehicle Scrapping Facilities will be uploaded on the PM GatiShakti NMP Portal. Further, mapping of potential sites for these facilities will also be added to it.
A slowed pace of road construction this year has prompted the Centre to undertake a comprehensive review to identify the shortcomings and hasten implementation of national highway projects.
According to official data, 4,060 kilometres (KMs) of national highways were constructed during the current financial year till October-end. This is 10.7% lower than the 4,550 KMs built during the same months of fiscal 2021-22. The centre has also awarded 5,007 KMs of highways till October-end, up from 4,913 KMs during the comparable period of the previous year.
Senior officials in the know have said that projects in Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana are facing most delays. Highway projects in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar seem to be doing well.
Highway construction has lagged behind 2021-22 numbers in five out of seven months during fiscal 2022-23. The unexpectedly long rainy season is also cited as a reason for India trailing far behind road construction targets during this year