In its attempt to award the targeted infrastructure projects in the road sector during the stipulated timelines, the government is all set to award Rs17,000cr road and highway projects very shortly. In its renewed push, it is awarding Rs. 5,784cr projects before the end of October this year on annuity basis and four toll-based projects worth Rs 11,274cr will be also be opened for bidding during the same period. This also includes the Rs 9,654cr Agra to Lucknow eight-lane expressway project, which will be implemented by the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA). The emerging scenario in the road sector can be a good barometer indicating that there are players keen to take up financially viable projects which have land and other requisite clearances in place.
It may be recalled that in the recent past, the pace of award of highway projects has been slow because of various issues and countless bottlenecks including cash crunch and project clearance related hurdles. As a result of which this year, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has awarded only 479km against its target of 3,000 km by September this year. In the previous financial year, projects for only 1,116 km were awarded as against the target of 9,500 km. The projects being opened for awarding could bring a ray of hope. Most of the projects including those in Assam, J&K as well as the Agra-Lucknow expressways are largely ready and there is a high chance that developers would pick them up. The government has recently taken many steps to speed up the process of government clearances for industry, built an environment for more investment in the economy. A special cell has been set up to help big projects clearances and the Cabinet committee on Investment is working overtime to remove bottlenecks, said official sources.