Construction of national highways (NH) will touch 13,000 km by March this year. In addition, all NH stretches in plain terrains will be made at least two-and-half lanes in the next four to five years. Road Transport Secretary Anurag Jain provided these updates on Friday (2 February).
Citing how the large government investment, with more than a ninefold increase in budget allocation over the last 10 years, has accelerated highway construction, Jain said the share of single-lane highways has come down to barely 10 per cent of the entire 1.1-lakh-km NH network, as compared to 30 per cent in 2014-15.
"We are building more highways that are four-lane and above, and expressways. In the past 10 years, the length of NHs that are of four lanes or more has increased by 2.5 times, from 18,371 km to 46,720 km," he said.
"We will need robust capital for development of road infrastructure over the next 10-12 years to bring it at par with developed nations. We are also confident of a significant increase in private investment," he added.
Jain said that the NH construction this year is already progressively higher than that of the corresponding period last year.
According to officials, by the end of January, the overall construction was around 7,000 km. Going by the past trend, the final figure by the end of this financial year would be a little over 13,000 km.
Last year, a total of 10,331 km of NH was constructed.
Budget data show that the total allocation for the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has increased from Rs 31,130 crore in 2013-24 to Rs 2.78 lakh crore for 2024-25.
The overall investment in the highway sector, which includes private investment, has increased from Rs 59,135 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 2.23 lakh crore in 2023-24.
The Road Transport Secretary said the new NH projects will be funded through a mix of government and private investment.
"Now we are not awarding any project before getting 90 per cent land, and the policy issues that have often led to claims, disputes and arbitrations are being addressed expeditiously. These will encourage private investment," he added.
The Ministry also plans to raise around Rs 40,000 crore from asset monetisation during 2024-25.
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