20 km a day road-building target not possible for now: Joshi

CP Joshi
New Delhi, Jul 25: With annual award of 9,500 km, it will take minimum three years before the much-touted target of building 20 km a day roads is achieved.

"If everything is positive and if we award 9,500 km every year for three years, then we can achieve building 20 km of roads a day target," Road Transport and Highways Minister CP Joshi told PTI in an interview.

Asked whether the target set by his predecessor Kamal Nath was over-ambitious, Joshi said, "...With all good intention we had announced 20 km."

Nath had announced building 35,000 km in five years, which translated into 20 km a day. Nath, who has since moved to the Urban Development Affairs Ministry, had announced the target immediately after the UPA-II assumed office in 2009.

Under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), at present 10-12 km roads per day are being built.

The NHAI, which is responsible for 76,000 km of highways, had awarded contracts for 7,957 km in the 2011-12 financial year.

"This year, we have set a target of awarding 9,500 km," Joshi said, adding, "Road award is a process. Once the competition is there... The day we award and the day we start construction, on an average it takes three years, provided the stretch does not fall under the Wildlife area."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a meeting with core sector ministers last month, had set a target of over Rs 2 lakh crore investment in the infrastructure projects, including road-building.

Earlier this year, a Parliamentary panel had also stated that the NHAI's plan of building 20 km a day is a "distant dream".


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