Government is currently going all out to revive the road sector and in the first year of taking over reins at the Centre, it has taken multiple initiatives to boost stakeholders' interest in the sector and appears very aggressive and optimistic to make a significant headway in attaining the laid down targets of Road Transport and Highways Ministry of building a length of 30 km per day in the current fiscal, reports Nirmesh Singh.
India has world's second largest road network stretching across about 4.7 million km. It transports over 60% of all goods and services to different parts of country and carries around 85 per cent of total passenger traffic, as such, it holds key to future growth. Perhaps it is the reason that today India is thinking of both road and rail link to Sri Lanka. Its significance of the link can be gauged from the fact that Government of India has already asked Asian Development Bank to conduct pre-feasibility study for financing the project across Palk Strait connecting India with Sri Lanka. Apart from this, it has also set a target of building $5 billion road network in the north eastern region to provide direct road connectivity not just across the states' capitals within the region but also to neighboring countries, like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand.
Though, government has allocated Rs.42,913 crore for the highways sector in the Union Budget 2015-16 to ensure road building even if there is no private investment but with large number of big ticket projects in the pipeline, the government has also been exploring new models to attract private sector players to invest in road infrastructure in a big way. So to provide critical thrust to the sector, government is projecting next three years as a ‘unique opportunity' for investments in highways sector. It has rolled out projects worth Rs.6 Lakh crores, including Rs.3 lakh crore flagship road building programme NHDP. Investment opportunities include "new models" that are being rolled out both for Greenfield (hybrid annuity) and Brownfield projects (monetization). NHDP and will be offering 20,000 km of highways out of 26,000 km of NH projects for construction with total investment worth Rs.3 lakh crores over next three years. This is going to be among the largest government-led PPP development programmes in the world.