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No road project without 80% land acquisition: Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari

No highway projects would be bid out without 80 per cent land acquisition so as to fast-track infrastructure development

Nitin GadkariNew Delhi: No highway projects would be bid out without 80 per cent land acquisition so as to fast-track infrastructure development, and a shelf of 300 projects with all clearances will be created, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said here today.

“We have taken a decision that without 80 per cent land acquisition, we will not float tenders for highways projects,” Gadkari said at a PPP summit organised by Ficci.

Blaming the previous UPA regime for award of projects “without acquiring even 10 per cent of the required land” and causing hardships for road sector, Gadkari said that “a shelf of 300 projects are being created with all regulatory clearances to be bid out in next five to ten years”.

Identifying delays in disposing of the files as another major bottleneck for the sector’s tardy growth, Gadkari said he has urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct all officials to fast-track decisions.

“Time is the most important concept in infrastructure and business and delays cost the country to the tune of Rs 15 crore a day. Files are kept pending for three months to one-and-half-year. I have asked Highways officials to fast-track decision and requested the Prime Minister to issue directions to all officials,” he said.

Delays in decision-making have resulted in cost-overruns and projects are pending for environment clearance, land acquisition, transfer of defence land and railway clearances for rail over bridge for up to three years, he said.

A large number of projects were stuck due to litigation as well and poor condition of roads was leading to road accident deaths to the tune of 1,31,000 per annum, the minister added.

Also, interference in concession agreements by various institutions like Planning Commission, Finance Ministry and Highways Ministry has caused much delays with the result that bidders are shying away from projects, he said.

“We are introducing a new culture in the Road Ministry to reward those excelling and punish those with poor or defective work besides creation of a Bank of Ideas and Innovation by August 9 to fast-track projects,” Gadkari added.

Enunciating the steps to fast-track work, he said he would be holding a meeting every month as per Prime Minister’s direction to see that clearances are there for projects.

“About 300 projects for rail over bridges (RoB) were pending in the Ministry for lack of clearances from Railways,” he said, adding that such clearances file has to move from 16 tables.

Besides, he said that low cost interest was needed for infrastructure projects and appreciated the measures by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to boost the sector.

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