Ease of land acquisition for highway projects on anvil

Ease of land acquisition for highway projects on anvil

A view of the 135-km long Eastern Peripheral Expressway construction by the National Highways Authority of India to decongest Delhi traffic. PTI Photo 

The mandatory acquisition norm for bagging a contract may be scaled down to 50% of land required from 80%, said an official in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The Ministry's argument is that bridges and flyovers take a longer time to build than roads. Hence, 50% of the land is sufficient to award the contract and start the work.

With land acquisition taking a lot of time, the government has decided to kick start the works if 50% of the land required is available for faster rollout of works, said the official. In many instances, acquiring 80% of land takes time and till then the project will languish. This would create an impression among the people that the government is delaying project implementation, said the official.

The Road Ministry, which is building 27 km of roads a day in 2018 compared to 11 km during the UPA regime, is working hard to further speed up the works by awarding more projects.

NDA record

In building highways, the NDA government has made long strides. In 4.5 years (May 2014-October 2018), the NDA government built 33,361 km of roads against 33,038 km during 7 years (2008-2014) of UPA government.

“Despite this, the Ministry is keen on faster implementation in the bigger states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar, where land acquisition is always delayed,” said the official.

In some states, apart from the delayed land acquisition, the poor performance of contractors, delay in clearances and slow shifting of utility services hit highway works.