Citing the need to fast-track highways development and meet the ambitious plan of building 30 kms of roads a day, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry sought the doubling of its budgetary allocation to Rs 50,000 crore.
“The ministry has sought about Rs 50,000 crore budgetary allocation for 2015-16 to take forward its ambitious highways development plans,” said a source in the Road Transport and Highways Ministry.
The demand follows the Highways Ministry announcing several plans including construction of 30 km of highways a day to make up for the stalled projects.
The revised estimate for the current fiscal is about Rs 26,000 crore. The Budget for 2015-16 is to be unveiled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitely at the end of this month.
The government has already increased the basic excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre to fund its infrastructure development programme.
“In order to fund the ambitious infrastructure development programme of the government, particularly the building of 15,000 kms of roads during the current and next financial year, the government has decided to increase basic excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre,” the government had said last month.
Jaitley, while tabling the budget last year, had said the highways sector needed huge amount of investment along with de-bottlenecking from maze of clearances.
“A country of the size of India must have a transport network which can ensure faster travel across cities which are geographically distant. This will also improve the supply chain in transporting goods across cities,” he had said.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had last month said a whopping investment of Rs 5 lakh crore would be made in the road sector in the coming five years and from building mere 2 km roads a day, the new government would build 30 km roads a day in two years.
The government has fixed a target of constructing 8,500 km of National Highways for the current fiscal.
Soon after coming to power the BJP government had blamed the previous UPA regime’s policies like award of projects without land acquisition for the poor performance of road sector, where about 60 per cent of NHAI’s scheme are embroiled in disputes.
In a White Paper on NHAI it had said that warring ministries of the previous government and faulty policies had brought the road sector to its knees with 189 out of 332 NHAI projects in 20 states involving Rs 27,210 crore stuck in disputes.
The highways sector has hit a low over the last few years. After a dismal show in 2012-13, the ministry had scaled down its projects award target by nearly half to 5,000 km 2013-14, compared to a target of 9,500 km in 2012-13.