Why Roads & Highways construction is slowing down
ROADS & HIGHWAYS

Why Roads & Highways construction is slowing down

I highlighted the lags during the 12th India Roads Conference held recently as part of 8th India Construction Festival, especially the speed at which we have been constructing roads, which has fallen during the April-September 2022 period to 19 km per day against over 22 km per day during the same period in the previous year.

Interestingly, the official from the National Highways Authority of India claimed that the spending on roads had been increasing all through the past eight years. I had my opportunity to point out what I have been lamenting in my commentary time and again: that we are spending too much of that money on land acquisition and less on project execution.

Even states are having a hard time in accelerating road projects even though the centre is quite keen to step this up. Construction equipment companies are seeing orders drying up and contractors are bidding lower to keep the order book fat and impressive. Further, where is the application of the QCBS system over L1? It seems this is only being applied to tenders of Rs 10 crore and under to consultancy contracts, etc.

This defeats a good idea completely. Appeals on arbitration orders have also been discouraged and this, too, is not being observed in its true spirit. So, the ideas have reached the right ears, they have also been translated into notifications for execution, but the executors are failing to implement them in true form and spirit.

For the land acquisition issue, the only way now left for the Government is to initiate a Land Lease Model Law for leasing farmland for national infrastructure projects. This can be brought in quickly and nearly 40 per cent of the amount spent on roads can be saved from investment into land acquisition and utilised to accelerate EPC contracts.

The MoRTH Secretary recently assured that he is confident of building 12,000 km this financial year, which will give us a construction rate of 33 km per day. The ministry had constructed 10,237 km in 2019-20, 13,327 km in 2020-21 and 10,457 km in 2021-22. So, constructing 12,000 kms would definitely be an improvement over 2021-22 which was a slow year but nowhere near the touted figure of 18,000 kms! Having slowed construction to just 4,559 km in the first six months of this financial year, the pace of construction would have to accelerate to 42 km per day in the next six months to meet the target of 12,000 kms or 75 km per day to meet the target of 18,000 kms. Is that possible considering that the government’s fiscal deficit is to be contained?

With financial constraints at hand, does the Government have the capability to accelerate its infusion as laid out in the National Infrastructure Pipeline? Indications are that the Government is now shying away from investment proposals and it is the private sector that is driving the economy.

Images Source: Herald Tribune



Author: Pratap Padode is the Editor-in-Chief of Construction World and President of FIRST Construction Council


Also read:
Even states are having a hard time in accelerating road projects
Centre is quite keen
The MoRTH Secretary recently assured that he is confident of building 12,000 kms this financial year




I highlighted the lags during the 12th India Roads Conference held recently as part of 8th India Construction Festival, especially the speed at which we have been constructing roads, which has fallen during the April-September 2022 period to 19 km per day against over 22 km per day during the same period in the previous year. Interestingly, the official from the National Highways Authority of India claimed that the spending on roads had been increasing all through the past eight years. I had my opportunity to point out what I have been lamenting in my commentary time and again: that we are spending too much of that money on land acquisition and less on project execution. Even states are having a hard time in accelerating road projects even though the centre is quite keen to step this up. Construction equipment companies are seeing orders drying up and contractors are bidding lower to keep the order book fat and impressive. Further, where is the application of the QCBS system over L1? It seems this is only being applied to tenders of Rs 10 crore and under to consultancy contracts, etc. This defeats a good idea completely. Appeals on arbitration orders have also been discouraged and this, too, is not being observed in its true spirit. So, the ideas have reached the right ears, they have also been translated into notifications for execution, but the executors are failing to implement them in true form and spirit. For the land acquisition issue, the only way now left for the Government is to initiate a Land Lease Model Law for leasing farmland for national infrastructure projects. This can be brought in quickly and nearly 40 per cent of the amount spent on roads can be saved from investment into land acquisition and utilised to accelerate EPC contracts. The MoRTH Secretary recently assured that he is confident of building 12,000 km this financial year, which will give us a construction rate of 33 km per day. The ministry had constructed 10,237 km in 2019-20, 13,327 km in 2020-21 and 10,457 km in 2021-22. So, constructing 12,000 kms would definitely be an improvement over 2021-22 which was a slow year but nowhere near the touted figure of 18,000 kms! Having slowed construction to just 4,559 km in the first six months of this financial year, the pace of construction would have to accelerate to 42 km per day in the next six months to meet the target of 12,000 kms or 75 km per day to meet the target of 18,000 kms. Is that possible considering that the government’s fiscal deficit is to be contained? With financial constraints at hand, does the Government have the capability to accelerate its infusion as laid out in the National Infrastructure Pipeline? Indications are that the Government is now shying away from investment proposals and it is the private sector that is driving the economy.Images Source: Herald TribuneAuthor: Pratap Padode is the Editor-in-Chief of Construction World and President of FIRST Construction Council Also read: Even states are having a hard time in accelerating road projectsCentre is quite keen The MoRTH Secretary recently assured that he is confident of building 12,000 kms this financial year

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