The first phase of the Bharatmala scheme approved in 2017 includes construction of 24,800 km of national highways, in addition to 10,000 km of balance road works under the National Highways Development Programme (NHDP).
The roads remaining to be built under the NHDP have now come down to about 5,000 km, a senior government official aware of the matter said. While the programme was initially envisaged to be completed by the end of fiscal 2022 that starts this April, it has faced the issue of delayed land acquisition, which remains a major concern for infrastructure projects.
While the award of works under the Bharatmala scheme is expected to be complete by fiscal 2023, execution of the projects will take an additional two years, the official said. As of December 2020, projects of around 13,500 km length were awarded. By March this year, work on another 2,500 km of projects is expected to be given.
“By close of FY21, we will have around 12,000 km of projects left to be awarded, which is possible to bid out in the next two fiscal years,” the official told ET.
Project awarding activity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and its implementing agencies like the National Highways Authority of India and the National Highways Infrastructure Development Company has been robust this fiscal year, despite the pandemic.
“The last couple of years, we were focussing on the availability of funding, and were moving accordingly, which weakened our pipeline of projects,” the official said. “We are now focussing on awards.” The NHAI is looking to raise around `65,000 crore each in the next and the following fiscal. NHAI will bank on funding modes including an infrastructure investment trust and the toll-operate transfer model to raise funds, ET reported on January 9.