Union Budget 2014: Govt hits the road with 8,500-km target

July 11, 2014


The budget stepped up focus on the highways and expressways with an eye to improve the supply chain as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley set aside Rs 37,880 crore for the road transport sector. The minister also said NHAI shall set aside Rs 500 crore for project preparation.”The sector (roads) had taken shape from 1998-2004 under NDA-I. The sector again needs huge amount of investment along with de-bottlenecking from maze of clearances,” Jaitley said. The proposed investment in NHAI and state roads also includes Rs 3,000 crore for the northeast.Jaitley set a target of 8,500 km of highway construction during this financial year. He said work would begin on select expressways along with development of industrial corridors.

The allocation under the plan head is about 21% higher than what road transport ministry and all other agencies including NHAI could spend in 2013-14. The step is expected to speed up construction and award of road projects through government funding.

In the last two financial years, the sector went through a bad patch as private sector investment declined significantly and over 20 projects failed to get bids.

Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said his ministry will move a proposal to be able to clear projects up to Rs 1,000 crore against the present limit of Rs 500 crore.

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