NEW DELHI: Contrary to the earlier trend of quick announcement of achievements in construction and award of highway projects, the road transport ministry is yet to declare the data for 2022-23 even 15 days after the end of the financial year.
The reason: the ministry is taking its time to reconcile data on the “exceptionally high rate” of NH construction — at 78 km per day or over 2,400 km in March — which is the highest-ever and almost three times more than the average daily construction during the previous 11 months. All other infrastructure ministries have released their data in the first week of this month.
TOI has learnt that the NHAI, which is primarily responsible for building wider highways, has recorded the highest ever construction in 2022-23, touching 5,544 km. Besides NHAI, two other wings — NHIDCL and state PWDs — also take up NH development works on behalf of the road transport ministry.
The government data show that there has been the trend of a spike in NH construction in March every year. But the increase has been exceptional in the past three years. Officials said the steep increase in the last month of the financial year (FY) is due to updating of the construction data of all months.
This spike in construction this March helped the government to touch approximately 10,500 km of NH construction in 2022-23 against the target of 12,000 km. Sources said the
According to official data, in March 2021, the highway owning agencies reported construction and widening of 2,189 km (70.6 km per day) while in March 2020, this stood at 1,452 km for the entire month or 46.8 km per day. It can be recalled that the construction of NH stopped for one week due to the Covid-19 induced nation-wide lockdown.
An official said, “The field units send full reports just before the end of March as monitoring increases during the last quarter (January to March). The field officers try to finish the pending works before the end of the financial year.”
In the case of award of projects, the NH agencies have bid out around 11,400 km of highway projects during 2022-23 and only in March, around 3,750 km of these works were bid out.
Sources said now the NHAI has decided to set the month-wise target for construction and tendering of projects rather than bunching them together in the last month.