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Govt to shelve proposed Express Highway Authority

The government is facing problems in acquiring fresh land for the expressways, as these projects would be constructed separately and not on existing highways.



New Delhi: Bogged down by land acquisition problems and delays in existing road projects, the government is likely to shelve the proposal to set up an authority for implementation of expressways in the country along the lines of the National Highways Authority of India.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had earlier
envisaged setting up a separate body for the construction of
expressways in the country, dubbed the Expressways Authority
of India, to facilitate fast flow of goods. It was proposed to
be set up on the lines of the National Highways Authority of
India (NHAI).

The government is facing problems in acquiring fresh land
for the expressways, as these projects would be constructed
separately and not on existing highways. What is more, there
are delays in the construction of existing road projects and a
human resources crunch at the NHAI is also hindering progress.

"The problems in setting up Expressways Authority of
India are delays in completion of the existing projects, there
are hurdles in fresh land acquisition and there is not enough
manpower to execute these projects," a Road Transport and
Highways Ministry official told a news agency.

"It is difficult to fill the existing positions in
NHAI... There is a dearth of human resources," he said, adding
there is no need for a separate body for the execution of
expressways as the NHAI can form a new wing to take control of
such projects.

Former Minister of Road Transport and Highways Kamal Nath
had proposed to constitute an authority for expressways on the
pattern of NHAI in order to give an impetus to infrastructure
development in the country.

He was of the view that the expressways should be dealt
with separately.

The ministry aims to build 7,000 km of roads annually and
has assigned the task of constructing 20 km of road per day to
the NHAI. It has also envisaged constructing a 15,600 km
national expressways network in three phases by 2022, the end
of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2017-22).

Countries like the US, Canada and other European nations
have evinced interest in investing about USD 3 billion on
highway projects over the next five years in India.

PTI

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