The National Highways authority of India has achieved its highest ever construction rate since it was established way back in 1995. In the just concluded financial year 2019-20, in all 3,979 kms of national highways were made by NHAI across the country. This is a significant growth over the 3,380 kms of highways that were made in the previous financial year. However, the organisation did miss out on achieving its own target of 4,550 kms. It managed to make approximately 11 kms per day. Factors like General Elections in the beginning of previous financial year and the Coronavirus lockdown did have an impact on the pace of construction.
In a statement the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways said, "In order to accelerate the pace of construction, large number of initiatives have been taken to revive stalled projects and expedite completion of new projects. These include streamlining of land acquisition, awarding of projects after adequate preparation in terms of land acquisition, clearances etc, one time fund infusion and securitisation of road sector loans."
The Government of India aims to complete 2,00,000 km of national highways by 2022
The construction is a part of the ambitious highway development programme called Bharatmala Pariyojana initiated by the Government. This includes development of about 65,000 km of National Highways. Under Phase-I of the project 34,800 km of National Highways will be made in 5 years with an outlay of Rs 5,35,000 crore. NHAI has been mandated development of about 27,500 km of national highways under this phase.
However, the pace of construction might be impacted initially once the lockdown is over as there could be scarcity of labour. India has the one of largest road networks across the world, spanning over a total of 58 lakh km. Of this, the total length of National Highways stands at around 1,36,499 kms. The Government of India aims to complete 200,000 km of national highways by 2022.