Record 7,400 Km Road Contracts Worth Over Rs 1 Lakh Crore Awarded By NHAI On The Back Of Procedural Reforms

Highway construction in full throttle at the Eastern Peripheral Expressway in Palwal. (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Reforms in road tendering aided with better monitoring and steps to expedite land acquisitions have resulted in a record road allocation of 7,400 kilometres (km) worth Rs 1,22,000 crore by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in Financial Year 2017-18.

The new procedure put in place in November 2017 will now oversee Prime Minister (PM) Modi’s signature Bharatmala project move ahead in full steam, as India heads towards national elections in 2019.

NHAI is the central government agency which manages more than 50,000 km of highways infrastructure in India and is likely to award another 3,000 km in road contracts in the April and May this year.

The allocation in last financial year is already far more than the average 2,860 km of roads awarded by the agency since its inception with last financial year’s allocation standing at 4,335 km.

Rajasthan has been the biggest beneficiary of the reformed process with 1,234 km of the new highways to come up in the state. Odisha at 747 km, Maharastra at 739 km, Uttar Pradesh at 725 km and Tamil Nadu at 511 km follow.

Contract allocations have gathered pace especially since 2018 with the new GST tax regime getting normalised and land acquisitions coming through. Dilip Buildcon Limited (DBL) has won the most contracts with a total worth more than Rs 42 billion. DBL’s stock surged 12 per cent on the news of it winning more projects from the NHAI earlier.

Sadbhav Engineering, Ashoka Buildcon and MEP Infrastructure Developers are others that have won huge contracts from the NHAI.

Bharatmala is Modi government’s big-budget roads and highways project covering almost 84,000 km of road network with a total outlay of 5.35 lakh crore. It was formally sanctioned in October 2017 after which the road allocation gathered pace.

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