New Delhi, July 29 (ANI): Union Road Transport Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday said that the Government has geared up to launch one of the biggest highways development programme in the country.
Replying to the discussions on the working of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry in the Rajya Sabha, Nath said that the National Highways Development Programme would be stepped up so as to achieve the target of 7000 km per year.
"We will build this year more roads than the total length completed by NDA in its five years term," he said.
He said, the Ministry would award road projects for a length of 15,000 km amounting to one-lakh crore rupees as part of its Annual Work Plan this year. A similar length of roads would also be awarded in the next financial year.
"The work awarded in the first two to three years is important as it would determine the success of the highways programme," he added.
To achieve the target, he laid stress on the capacity building, both within NHAI and also of the concessionaires, contractors and technical consultants.
Terming infrastructure as the biggest challenge in the next decade, he said roads would play an important role in infrastructure development as it affects the lives of all and is an important component of economy.
The Minister said that the Ministry has appointed a consultant to look at the feasibility of 15,600 km of expressways in the country. This would be in addition to the plans of constructing 1000 km of expressways.
He also announced that the Ministry would carry out an exercise of renumbering of the National Highways to facilitate easy identification.
Elaborating on this, he said, "The highways would be numbered in such a way that the odd and even numbers would specify whether the highway is running from East to West or North to South."
He also informed the House that the Government has approved 1200 km of National Highways and 4500 km of State Highways amounting to Rs.7300 crore in the eight Naxal affected States.
"More emphasis will be given for the development of less developed States. Rs.200 crores have been earmarked for Jharkhand in this year," the Minister added. (ANI)