Earlier this year, a Parliamentary panel also stated that the NHAI's plan of building 20 km a day is a "distant dream"
New Delhi: 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 C P 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 Rs2 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".
Under NHDP (National Highways Development Programme), the ministry has taken up the development of 35,000 km roads on various modes including PPP (public, private partenership).
"Initially we started with the Golden Quadrilateral which was built on item based construction. Roads at present are built under three modes - BOT (Toll), Annuity and EPC," Joshi said.
The Cabinet Sub-Committee headed by Chaturvedi had recommended that of the total projects 65 per cent should be built BOT (Toll), 25% on Annuity and the rest under EPC.
"For us, BOT (toll) is better as for 20-25 years maintenance lies with concessionaire. We have decided to award 20,000 km of single road under EPC in the 12th Plan. Out of this, 4,000 km will be in 2012-13," Joshi said.
"We have a model concession agreement which provides minimum six months to arrange funds. When in 2000 we started the PPP mode, we could award only 6,000 km. The award started reflecting in the third year. Bidders didn't come forward due the slowdown. With all good intention we have announced building 20 km," he said.
The road ministry also introduced the system of e-tendering in the highway sector.
"A large number of concessionaires are bidding through this route...It is my initiative. For every award, number of bidders has gone over 15 from previous two. Through my intervention the road ministry will get Rs3,000 crore per year as premium for 20 years," he added.