• NDA beats UPA, rolls out roads faster

    The government’s work order for highway expansion has shot up by 122% during the first three years of Modi government and the pace of construction has gone up by 25%, according to data released by the road transport and highways ministry.
    During 2011-2014, daily highway construction was about 13 km in comparison to 17 km during the three years’ of Modi government.
    The acceleration in award of works to road builders — over 11,000 km on an average in the past three years against only 5,000 during UPA’s corresponding period — has significance considering that this will translate into actual construction of roads by April 2019 when the government faces election.
    It is expected that by 2019, the government will be in a position to achieve more than 30 km of highway construction per day, a source said.
    Highways minister Nitin Gadkari has set the target of pushing daily highway construction to 41 km.
    Highway development is considered one of the biggest job generators and increased road connectivity has been recognised as a major contributor to economic activities even in the hinterlands.
    However, for the current financial year, the government has set the target of awarding at least 30% of highway projects on public private partnership (PPP). Last year only 17% projects were bid out on PPP mode.
    Similarly, shipping ministry data show high increase in capacity of 12 major ports under government from 745 million tonnes in 2012-13 to 1,065 million tonnes in 2016-17.
    The total cargo handled at all these ports have also increased from 570 million tonnes in 2011-12 to 648 million tonnes during the last financial year.
    Officials said there has been a greater cohesive planning in the road, rail, shipping and waterways sectors to improve connectivity, which was missing during the earlier government.
    Target for smart tags The government has set the target of a three-fold increase in installation of FASTags in vehicles in the next one year. Till March end, about 4.1 lakh such tags have been fixed in vehicles, which allow these vehicles to pass through toll plazas on highways without waiting at toll gates.
    At a meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi earlier this month, the roads ministry has been asked to increase it to 15 lakh by April 2018 and 25 lakh by 2020. Paul Molitor Jersey

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