NEW DELHI: Land acquisition and green clearances for construction of highway projects continue to be the biggest hurdle for completion of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari ambitious target of doubling the length of national highways in the country.
With Ministry of Transport and Highways missing the 15000 km of annual target in 2016, Gadkari Tuesday held a review of pending projects and discussed the hurdles and solutions to complete them at faster pace.
There are about 67 projects of nearly 3700 km spanning across several states that are pending and of these 32 are pending for want of land acquisition and 19 for forest and wildlife clearances.
Replying to a question in Lok Sabha during budget session, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan had also said that the slow speed of construction of national highway is mainly due to land acquisition.
The others other reasons for delay include utility shifting, non-availability of soil/aggregates, poor performance of contractors, issues with Railways, public agitation for additional facilities and arbitration disputes with contractors.
The ministry has been taking measures to streamline the rules to do away with delays caused by land acquisition. In 2016, the ministry approved to acquire land through private consent in cases where a plot has been left out of bulk acquisition and extra land is needed for project implementation at later stage.
“It was felt that land acquisition through the National Highways Act was time consuming and land acquisition of these missing and additional plots through consent would be helpful in several ways to ensure land is taken in possession immediately, inherent delay in land acquisition is avoided, no court case challenging the take over and lump sum awards could be give straight away,” said the order issued by ministry.