The rural and urban highway project was giving prominence when Vajpayee lead NDA government first came to power in 1998. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s keen interest to bring development and infrastructure to the country made a significant difference in his 5 year rule and gained huge appreciation from public.
But after the Congress government came to power in 2009, the entire project was taken for a ride. The UOA government neglected the project and the pace of road construction fell to 1-2 Km/day. The projects which were started during BJP government were never completed even after a decade.
But after the Modi government came to power, massive importance was given to infrastructure development which is now yielding results. The report published on Financial Express says that the NDA’s 4 year highway construction has surpassed the UPA’s 7 year effort has has turned out to be one of the most successful projects in the country.
Four-and-a-half years into its tenure, the NDA has built 33,361-km of highways, a trifle more than what UPA did in the seven years between FY-08 and FY14.
Pure-play public private partnership (PPP) ventures, which had come to a grinding halt by the end of the UPA regime, hasn’t picked up even during the NDA regime; but with a higher level of efficiency achieved in government-funded projects and the formulation of concessions-driven hybrid annuity model (HAM) ventures that saw some private investments, the construction pace has gradually improved over the last four-and-a-half years said the report.
Nitin Gadkari who is spear heading the road projects has set a target of laying 40Km/day and has increased the target level to 45km/day which is massive. Under his leadership, the construction pace has picked up from 11.7km/day in 2014 to 27km/day in 2017. Only in the last year of the UPA government’s the road construction pace was increased to 11.7km/day to appease people before elections.
The award of highway projects, during the first four years of the NDA regime, were 51,073 km, double the level achieved by UPA during its last four years. The target for awards in 2018-19 is set at 20,000 km, a quarter more than 17,055 km awarded during 2017-18.
Of the 16,418-km construction target for the whole of 2018-19, the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH), which builds national highways through state PWDs, is expected to build 9,698 km and the National Highways Authority of India, 6,000 km. The National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) has been entrusted with the target of building 720 km of national highways in the year. Financial Express
Although the projects are moving in a great speed, the country is still facing delays over and problems of land acquisition and utility shifting, non availability of aggregates, poor performance of contractors and delays in clearances continue to slow construction. NHAI projects are increasingly being built through HAM, a PPP model launched by the current government under which the government bears 40% of the project cost.
The Modi government has more so worked on changing the system so that corruption can be avoided by easing the exit policy for developers to enable them invest in new projects, expedited land acquisition, introduced one-time fund infusion scheme in languishing projects. Just like how the Bankruptcy Act is now making the loan defaulters to repay their amount, the exit policy for developers has opened the gates for many competitors which has also helped the government fasten the projects.