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PM calls for speeding up road projects

June 8, 2011 - New Delhi

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Wednesday said roads are a vital infrastructure, and added that despite improvements this sector still needs efforts to upgrade the quality as well as length of India's national highway network.

Dr. Singh, who took a review of the road sector, desired that action be initiated to bridge the deficit in both quality and quantity.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Minister for Road Transport and Highways CP Joshi, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh, Ministers of State in Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Jitin Prasada and Tusharbhai Chaudhary attended the meeting.

Principal Secretary to Prime Minister TKA Nair and OSD, Cabinet Secretariat, Ajit Seth, also participated in the meeting.

Since 2004-05, 26883 kilometers of national highways have been completed, against 8918 kilometers in the 5 years preceding this period.

Greater transparency in projects is being implemented with the placing of concession agreements on the NHAI website.

The Ministry will also introduce e-tendering in August 2011, and will launch project monitoring through GIS-based satellite imagery from September 2011.

While the Ministry has set a goal of awarding 7300 km of national highways projects in 2011-12, the Prime Minister said that he expected them to exceed this target. ]

While appreciating the increase in the works awarded last year, the Ministry was asked to prepare a shelf of projects of around 10,000 km, and another 15000 kms be taken up for preparation of detailed project reports. The decision making process needs to be speeded up at each stage.

The Prime Minister flagged the need to strengthen the organisations involved in this gigantic task, especially NHAI. Re-structuring of NHAI should be implemented quickly, and all vacant posts need to be filled up.

Dr. Singh also directed special attention to projects in areas with poor connectivity, especially Jammu and Kashmir, North East and the Left wing extremism affected areas.

The Prime Minister also stressed upon the need to ensure that public is not inconvenienced when new works are being undertaken, and that alternate roads and detours should be safe and adequate to handle the traffic.


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