Total 719 delayed National Highway projects across various states

A total of 719 delayed National Highway projects have been identified across various states, the Parliament was told on Wednesday.

According to the Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, these projects are not stalled but have gone beyond the scheduled date of completion on account of various reasons such as above average monsoon rainfall in some states, Covid-19 pandemic, bottlenecks in land acquisition, statutory clearances/permissions encroachment removal, non-availability of soil/aggregate, law & order, financial crunch of concessionaire, poor performance of contractor/concessionaire etc.

“Out of these 719 projects, 268 projects have a delay of less than one year; and 438 projects are expected to be completed in the current financial year,” Gadkari told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

He said that the government is closely monitoring the construction progress of these projects and proactively working with project implementing agencies, state governments, contractors/developers. Periodic review meetings are being held at various levels to resolve the bottlenecks and complete these delayed projects.

In order to avoid project delays due to unavailability of land, the government is ensuring that projects get awarded after notifying 80 per cent of the required land under Section 3(D) of the National Highways Act 1956.

For projects delayed or stalled due to other reasons like delay in fulfilment of the government’s condition precedent, contractors’/concessionaires’ cash flow problems, etc., the government has taken several steps for their completion such as premium re-scheduling, securitisation of road sector loans, one-time fund infusion, exit plan for equity investors, mutual termination/cancellation of awarded road projects and re-bidding, revamping the dispute resolution system, relaxations in contract provisions under Atmanirbhar Bharat to improve the liquidity of funds available with contractors/developers, etc.

“For projects delayed or stalled due to reasons attributable to the contractor, penal action is taken against the contractor as per contract provision. Further, close coordination with other concerned departments such as environment, forest etc. is being done so as to ensure timely clearances for project execution,” said the reply.

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