Out of over 700 projects being reviewed, about 300 projects were identified for completion before March 2019
With 2019 Lok Sabha elections on the mind, Union Minister for road transport and highways has asked officials to complete 280 projects by March 2019 as against a deadline of June next year.
“Before the election commission imposes the electoral code of conduct, I want all the projects with June deadline to be completed by March 2019,” Gadkari told reporters.
The Union Minister held a two-day review meeting in Goa to have a state-wise project appraisal. All the projects worth more than Rs 100 crore were up for review. Out of 427 projects of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and 311 projects of the ministry and NHIDCL reviewed, 127 projects by the former and 153 projects by latter are to be completed by March next year.
“The year 2018 has been declared as a ‘construction year’ by the ministry. Out of over 700 projects being reviewed, about 300 projects will be identified for completion before March 2019,” the ministry said in its statement.
Out of approximately 300 projects selected by the ministry, 100 projects are to be completed by December this year.
Gadkari reviewed projects from 20 states out of 29 but lauded performance of southern states.
“Performance of states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala was good… Even Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have shown great work… However, work in Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal was slow,” he said.
The minister said that land acquisition, utility shifting and forest clearance continue to mar the progress in the sector.
“I am saddened to see situation due to land clearance… Work is being delayed… Even forest and environment clearance is an issue to be tackled,” he said.
Meeting with bank chiefs
Due to lack of lending enthusiasm among bankers, the Union Minister has decided to hold a meeting with all bank chiefs in Mumbai later this month.
“I would apprise the banks about the steps taken by our ministry to avoid NPAs, how loans in this sector were returned on time and why this sector is important,” he said.
Gadkari said that NPAs worth Rs 3.85 trillion were avoided by the ministry after reviewing project conditions, changing the terms and putting the work back on track.
He also said that to further improve the sector, a performance audit of all contractors would be done to contain menace and delay in project completion.“Performance of all contractors will be audited. If found guilty, the contractor would not be allowed to take up future projects,” he said.