Center targeting to complete 300 highway projects by March 2019: Gadkari

New Delhi: Union Road Minister Nitin Gadkari on June 14 said that his ministry is targeting to complete some 300 highways projects by March 2019, just ahead of the general elections.
The government has decided to reduce the time frame by three months of 300 projects, scheduled for completion in June 2019, and are now likely to be completed by March, Gadkari said.
But the minister insisted that the advancing of deadline to finish the projects has “nothing to do with poll dates”, but with an aim to deliver world-class infrastructure projects with “no political interest whatsoever”.
“We do not build roads motivated by political interest. Whatever is to happen will happen in the elections but this country should develop, whether there is a government of the BJP or the Congress or any other party. Once a road is built it will benefit all, irrespective of who they (people) voted for,” Gadkari said at a press conference.
Following a two-day review meeting in Goa that ended on Tuesday, Gadkari outlined details of the status of over 700 ongoing projects in 20 states. He said that out of the 300 projects that the ministry is targeting to complete by March 2019, about 100 projects will be completed by the end of December this year.
Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are among the states that have performed well in road construction with UP alone building projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore, Gadkari said.
The minister added that he has told the chief secretaries of all the states to hold monthly review meetings to expedite projects that may be stuck.
To sort out issues such as delays caused by land acquisition, chief general managers have been directed to visit the sites every ten days to see the progress on the ground, the minister added.
He also expressed hope that the per day road construction target in 2018-19 will be more than 40km. The ministry has also revised the construction target of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) from 5.058km to 6,000km.
Coming down on the consultants allegedly preparing faulty detailed project reports (DPRs), Gadkari said it was one of the reasons behind the projects facing delays.
“Very often DPRs are made without taking actual ground realities into consideration. It has been decided to compile a list of projects that have been delayed for this reason. The consultants making faulty DPRs will be penalized and blacklisted. The government will hold back 30% payment of consultants preparing faulty DPRs for highway projects,” the minister said.

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