September sees national highway construction resume: government data

National highway construction bucked the trend this fiscal year with a 37 percent year-on-year growth in September, official data showed.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) constructed 647 kilometers (km) of highways during the month, which is the second highest it has managed this financial year. Highway construction had witnessed a decline in previous months. In the first half, the ministry built 3,559 km against 3,824 km the previous year.

While construction of the highway is beginning to show signs of recovery, it is still far from the ministry’s official target of 12,000 km for this fiscal year and even further from the ambitious target of 18,000 km set by the Union Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. The current rate of construction is 20 km per day, while the official target calls for a daily construction of at least 35 km.

Earlier this week, Road Transport and Highways Secretary Giridhar Aramane said monsoons and prolonged flooding in several parts of the country had contributed significantly to slowing the growth of highways.

Motorway growth typically accelerates in the second half of the year, with increased infrastructure spending and favorable weather conditions for construction. The ministry had built 10,237 km in 2019-20, 13,327 km in 2020-21 and 10,457 km in 2021-22.

At the same time, the signing of motorway contracts stood at 4,092 km during the April-September period against 4,609 km during the period a year ago.

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