New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) As many as 566 national highway projects are running behind schedule owing to issues ranging from land acquisition, forest and wildlife clearances to poor performance of contractors, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told Parliament on Thursday.
“Construction work on Golden Quadrilateral has already been completed, however 566 projects are behind their completion schedule. These projects are delayed mainly due to land acquisition, utility shifting, non-availability of soil or aggregate, poor performance of contractors..,” Gadkari told the Lok Sabha in a written reply to a question.
The minister’s revelation to Parliament is a big setback to the highway development programme in the country that has thrown shining example of performance despite sluggish performance by several other sectors of the economy. In the past, success of the road development projects had provided opportunity for chest-thumping by ministers in the ruling party.
Gadkari said that on their part, action was routinely been taken against contractors that reported delays under the provisions of the contract.
The Minister also said that in order to fast-track these projects, various steps such as streamlining of land acquisition and environment clearances, premium rescheduling, close coordination with other ministries, among others have been taken.
“Some of the ongoing National Highways Projects have been delayed due to various reasons such as delays in land acquisition, pre construction activities, law and order issues, contractors’ cash flow problems, poor performance of contractors,” Gadkari added.
Regular meetings are held with project developers, state governments and contractors on expedite the delayed projects and various steps have been taken in this regard, he said.