The ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) has set an internal target to build at least 45 km of roadways each day this year, according to sources. At this rate, 16,000 km of roads will be built in a year, and it will be a record.
Despite the possibility of a worldwide economic recession, India is expected to speed up highway construction this fiscal year, building the longest road ever in a single year.
This challenging goal was set after the ministry missed its road building targets for the previous two fiscal years, despite having completed a record 13,298 km (36.4 km/day) in the pandemic-hit year of 2020–21. The speed then reduced to around 29 km in FY22, and it is anticipated that it would stay that way in FY23. The past fiscal year saw just 24 km of daily road work, culminating in 8,064 km of highway building, according to data that is accessible up to February 2023.
The official target may be set slightly lower than the government’s desired daily construction rate of 45 km, closer to the 12,200 km of last year, as delays in clearances, land acquisition, and rising input costs could impede some unprofitable road projects with unattractive traffic projections for investors.
All road construction organizations have been requested to speed up highway development and fix any concerns impeding it. In order to address project-related issues and start work right away, the ministry is also anticipated to host a number of high-level inter-ministerial conferences with state government representatives.
In order to fulfill its pledge to finish postponed road projects, the central government boosted MoRTH’s financial allocation by 36% to INR 2.7 trillion. The administration is also keen to complete all critical road projects ahead of the national elections in 2024 as well as important state elections later this year.
Highway construction covered 10,237 km during the pre-pandemic period of FY20, or 28.04 km per day. Lockdowns indirectly stimulated development during the first pandemic year (FY21), which led to a record 13,327 km of motorways being completed at a rate of 36.51 km per day. Again slowing to 10,457 km at 28.64 km per day in FY22.
The road ministry had planned to build 14,600 km of roadways in FY22, or 40 km each day. Later, the target was changed to 12,000 kilometers. Similarly, the target for FY23 is still low at 12,200 km, despite Nitin Gadkari, the road minister, having earlier said that 18,000 km of highway development at a daily pace of 50 km might be taken into consideration.