India aims to float tenders for 10,000 km of Road Projects by March 2024

Anushka Khare Posted on: 2024-01-29 06:10:00 Viewer: 1,914 Comments: 0 Country: India City: New Delhi

India aims to float tenders for 10,000 km of Road Projects by March 2024

New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In a strategic move, Anurag Jain, Secretary at the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has unveiled the Indian government's ambitious plan to initiate tenders for a staggering 10,000 kilometers of road projects by March 2024.

This marks a substantial acceleration in the pace of new road and highway contracts. Jain explained, “In the first 9 months, the actual award(s) came down to between 3,000-3,500 km. But in the next one-and-a-half months, we expect the model code to kick in the first week of March; this 3,500-kilometre number will surge to 10,000 km,” in an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, just ahead of the government's annual budget presentation on February 1.

Under the leadership of Nitin Gadkari, the ministry has successfully overseen the construction of 5,248 km of national highways between April and November 2023. This accomplishment reflects a remarkable 10% increase compared to the 4,766 km during the same period the previous year.

Increased Tenders Preceding Lok Sabha Election

The urgency to intensify efforts is heightened as the government approaches the Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for the summer of 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has positioned the government's commitment to infrastructure development as a noteworthy achievement, setting the stage for his bid for a third term in office.

The upcoming road projects will encompass build-operate-transfer (BOT) initiatives, with awards slated for June after the completion of the model code and associated procedures, Jain added.

Potential Reversal of the Road Construction Slump in 2023

The government had initially set an ambitious target of constructing around 12,000 km of roads in the financial year ending March 2024. However, the pace of new tenders decelerated significantly due to a decision stipulating that new projects would only be awarded to those who had acquired land and obtained necessary approvals.

Consequently, between April and November 2023, new contracts amounted to 2,815 km, a notable decrease from the 5,382 km awarded during the same period a year earlier.

Bharatmala Phase I and Construction Challenges

The Bharatmala Phase I, a massive highway project covering 34,800 km, encountered setbacks in recent months. Delays and cost overruns led the ministry to seek approvals for new projects from the Union Cabinet. Originally slated for completion in 2022, the project's deadline was extended to 2028 in December 2023. Moreover, the estimated cost for the project more than doubled from the initial Rs 5.35 lakh crore (for the first phase alone).

The construction sector remains one of the fastest-growing segments within the Indian economy, reflecting resilience and adaptability amid challenges.

India's bold step to open tenders for 10,000 km of road projects by March 2024 signals a significant acceleration in infrastructure development. With elections on the horizon, the government's commitment to road construction and its focus on overcoming challenges underscore its dedication to sustainable growth. As the construction sector remains a driving force in the Indian economy, these initiatives align with the nation's aspirations for a robust and well-connected future.

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