Centre plans mega road projects

Government okays Rs 1 lakh crore

“We have set a target of constructing 7,000 km of road in a year which would imply 20 km a day,” the minister said responding to a discussion on the working of his ministry.

“This year we will award 15,000 km of road with a value of Rs one lakh crore. Next year we will award another 15,000 km of road contracts and this way our construction of roads in one year will surpass what the NDA has built in five years,” the minister said.

Citing problem in land acquisition as one of the main causes of delay in completing several projects, the minister said the state governments should cooperate with the Centre on this issue. He urged MPs to sensitise state governments about the crucial issue of land acquisition, which was a major problem in states like Kerala and Assam.

Nath said his ministry would review the toll policy as it has been decided to construct 60 per cent of the roads on toll formula.

The review would include aspects like rounding off the toll charges and exemption to MPs from paying toll tax.

Admitting that his ministry had differences with the Planning Commission, which was one of the reasons for slow progress in road construction, he said: “We are resolving some of the issues which are deterrent.”

However, he made it clear, that the advice of the Planning Commission was not binding on him. “I have not outsourced this ministry to other ministries or to Planning Commission”. He said the plan panel provides valuable inputs but his accountability was to Parliament.

The minister said he would look into the proposal of tapping US $ two billion World Bank loan for road projects.

DH News Service

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