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Centre Admits to Delays and Shortage of Funds in Rs 5.35 Lakh Crore Bharatmala Project

Reviewed till September 2018, the report states that the programme is facing delays due to land acquisition, detailed project report (DPR) preparation, the bidding process, appointment of concessionaires and physical construction.

News18.com

Updated:November 23, 2018, 8:16 PM IST
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New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance’s flagship Rs 5.35 lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojana under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is hit with delays and financial woes, according to a review report by the central government.

Reviewed till September 2018, the report states that the programme is facing delays due to land acquisition, detailed project report (DPR) preparation, the bidding process, appointment of concessionaires and physical construction.

“Projects implemented under Bharatmala Pariyojana could potentially be delayed during multiple stages across the project lifecycle,” said the NHAI report.

Launched in 2017 and touted as India’s biggest highways development plan, 1,368 km of the project still lies unawarded. Phase 1 of the Bharatmala Pariyojana aims to construct 24,800 km of roads. In addition, it also includes 10,000 km of work remaining under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP), an older initiative.

The first phase under the project has an estimated investment outlay of Rs 5.35 lakh crore according to the investment plan approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), spanning a period of five years (from FY 2017-18 to FY 2021-22).

The project is aimed at development of important economic corridors, inter-corridors and feeder routes, border and international connectivity roads, coastal and port connectivity roads and greenfield expressways.

“Considering the massive scale of the programme, it is extremely important to manage the implementation of the programme and monitor its physical and financial progress through a robust Program Management Office (PMO). AT Kearny and CRISIL were appointed as the program management consultants (PMCs) to support...managing the implementation of Phase 1,” the report, cited by Hindustan Times, said.

It also noted that the total capital cost for the awarded projects exceeds the cost approved by the CCEA by 50 percent. The total capital cost of 6,361 km of projects awarded under Bharatmala is pegged at Rs 1.475 lakh crore.

“The capital cost for awarded projects is Rs 23.1 crore per km (total civil cost being Rs 17.5 crore per km and cost of land acquisition and pre-construction activities being Rs 5.6 crore per km). The total awarded cost exceeds the cost approved by CCEA by 50 percent that is, Rs 15.5 crore per km,” the report said, referring to the projects awarded afresh.

Bharatmala projects with a total length of 8,134 km were targeted to be awarded by NHAI in the current financial year, of which only 268 km had been awarded till September 2018.

“Out of the 321 km that was targeted to be awarded in the first quarter 118 km have been awarded in the same period. Out of the revised award target of 2,707 km of projects for the second quarter only three projects with a length of 150 km have been awarded till September 2018, for the targeted,” the report noted.

Delays in the project implementation stages of preparation of the detailed project reports (DPR), land acquisition and bidding process have been highlighted in the report.

“Of 122 projects with a total length of 5,944 km targeted to be awarded till January 2018, bid documents have not been submitted for 58 projects having a length 3,209 km...Going forward, the delay observed during the physical progress of the projects will also be highlighted,” the report concluded.

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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