NHAI Draws Flak From Parliamentary Panel For Slow Work, While Maharashtra Tops In Project Delays

NHAI Draws Flak From Parliamentary Panel For Slow Work, While Maharashtra Tops In Project DelaysWorkers on the highway. 
Snapshot
  • The panel noted that Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has 888 delayed projects, spanning 27,500 Km across India.

    It was also noted that the project delaying rate is the highest in Maharashtra.

The Parliamentary Panel looking into affairs of delayed highway projects has asked the Centre to finish already delayed projects before taking new ventures. The cost of delayed projects was estimated at Rs. 3.15 lakh crore.

The panel noted that MoRTH (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) has 888 delayed projects, spanning 27,500 Km across India.

The 31-member panel to look into affairs of delayed infrastructure, tourism and culture was headed by TG Venkatesh. He said, “The committee is anguished to note that 888 road projects under the Ministry are delayed at present, which amounts to ₹3,15,373.3 crore involving a length of 27,665.3 km,” PTI reported.

The report expressed concerns over some important infrastructure projects being delayed, such as four-laning of Gaya-Hisua-Rajgir-Nalanda-Bihar Sharif section and the Patna-Gaya-Dobhi road project connecting Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya.

The NHAI’s financing model by borrowing from markets has brought itself under debt servicing liability of Rs. 97,000 crore. In the coming years, NHAI has increasingly relied on borrowings, — 1,800 per cent up from 2015-15, as budget allocations have been unable to keep up with NHAI finance requirements. The report has criticised the massive borrowings from markets.

It was also noted that the project delaying rate is the highest in Maharashtra. The panel head said delayed projects mean higher fuel consumption and increase in overall costs, noting, “The committee desires the Ministry to focus and prioritise completion of ongoing delayed projects instead of announcing and awarding new road projects in the country”.

The panel has suggested robust coordination with states to resolve delay issues.

The committee also said that, if the current trend of delaying persists, it would be impossible for MoRTH to meet the desired completion of the Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase – 1, which is due to be completed by 2025-26. It was already supposed to be completed by 2021-22.

The new delays by MoRTH include awarding of 2,517 Km of highways against a target of 6,469 Km for the current fiscal, while completing only 2,273 Km against a desired target of 4,571 Km under phase-1 of the Bharatmala Pariyojna.

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