• Road transport and highways ministry seeks 50 per cent more funds for next year

    The road transport and highways ministry is seeking a budgetary allocation of Rs 86,000 crore for the next fiscal year to fund its highway expansion plan in line with the government’s plans to boost public spending and create more construction sector jobs.

    The amount sought from the finance ministry is almost Rs 29,000 crore, or about 50%, higher than what the roads ministry had received in the last budget. Most of this grant would be used for the government’s programme to construct greenfield economic corridors mostly as expressways, a ministry official said.

    Almost 44 such economic corridors have been lined up to connect ports, backward areas and several district headquarters to existing highway networks. “The target for the next financial year would be to construct around 15,000 km of roads,” the official said. “This year we could do around 9,000 km, which is a little less the target for current fiscal.”

    The roads ministry has a target of constructing 10,000 km of highways this fiscal. Road construction pace has picked up this year to reach an all-time high of 27 km per day, which the ministry expects could be raised to over 30 km a day in the next couple of months as construction clearances for several new projects have already been received.

    The official also said the ministry would raise money through National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) bonds as well. However, the amount is yet to be finalised.  Chris Conte Jersey

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