Modi shows a new energy in reforms
Surge in award of projects puts road construction in top gear
The pace of national highway construction, which has been slow for the last few years, is slowly gathering momentum. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the ministry of road transport and highways have together got some 2,400 km of highways constructed during April-September this year compared with 1,800 km in the corresponding period last year.
With the recent surge in award of projects — NHAI itself awarded 3,067 km of highway projects in 2014-15 and its target for the current year is 5,000 km — and the considerable additional flexibilities being built into the public-private partnership (PPP) model, the government is confident of meeting the target of expanding the country’s road network by 30 km every day in the next few months, official sources told FE. The rate of road construction is currently some 13 km a day, up from around 2 km a day when the NDA government took over, the sources added.
NHAI, significantly, awarded 870 km of highways in the build, operate, transfer model in the first six months of the current fiscal, a sign of gradual improvement in the PPP segment. “The fact that 870 km roads have already been awarded through the BOT (toll) mode itself signifies that private sector is now coming back to the sector,” Rohit Kumar Singh, joint secretary (highways) in the ministry, told FE.
The government has set a target of 6,300 km for construction and 10,000 km for project awarding for the current fiscal. Against 6,300 km highway construction target for the last fiscal, only about 4,400 km could actually be achieved.
Sources said road project awarding has more than doubled during the April-September period of the current fiscal at 4,500 km compared with 2,200 km during the same period of last fiscal. NHAI is more proactive on this front, awarding about 2,500 km during the period and the ministry, 2,000 km.
Rs.3 lakh crore ($47 billion) mobilized from coal auctions, 8 more mines to be e-auctioned
The government today kick-started the process of online auction for eight blocks in the fourth round for sectors like steel, cement and iron.
The government has already mobilised over Rs 3 lakh crore in the first three rounds of coal auction and allotment.
“It has been decided to auction eight Schedule III coal mines earmarked for non-regulated sectors like, iron and steel, cement and captive power plants in the fourth tranche. The e-auction for these mines will be held from January 18 to January 22, 2016,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said addressing the media here.
Directions have been issued to the nominated authority for auctions, Joint Secretary, Coal, Vivek Bhardwaj, to conduct the auction, and the notice inviting tenders will be issued tomorrow, Swarup said.
The Secretary said Coal India is “well on way of achieving 550 million tonne coal production target” for the current fiscal and has crossed the 300-MT output mark this week.