Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said he plans to set an ambitious target of 60 km per day highway construction to ensure speedy recovery of the economy from the shocks of COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing concerns of the members of developers’ association Credai-MCHI through a video conference, Gadkari said that there was a need for developing infrastructure to boost the economy.
“Earlier, I had kept a target of 30 km per day for construction of highways and we have achieved it. Now I am thinking of taking it to 60 km per day. The speed of development of the road projects should be 2-3 times faster,” he said replying to a query on government’s plans for development of infrastructure post-lockdown.
Recently, state-run National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said that it has accomplished construction of 3,979 km of national highways in FY 2019-20, which was the highest ever highway construction achieved in a financial year by the company.
In fiscal FY2019, NHAI had constructed 3,380 km of national highways.
Gadkari further noted that infrastructure development was necessary to create jobs and accelerate economy.
“Unless liquidity is generated from the country’s infrastructure, be it development of water systems, power, transport, communications, railways, shipping and ports, we will not be able to grow. Infrastructure development leads to job creation, which will improve the country’s per capita income and accelerate the economy,” Gadkari added.
The government has envisaged a very ambitious highway development programme ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’ which includes construction of about 65,000 km national highways.
Under phase-I of this project, the government has approved implementation of 34,800 km of national highways with a target of five years, having an outlay of Rs 5.35 lakh crore.