Exiting bumpy patch, road sector to have smooth ride next year

Tags: road sector, News
From environment and regulatory bottlenecks stalling projects worth over Rs 1 lakh crore to witnessing a corporate tug-of-war over a new category of vehicle, the highways sector had a bumpy ride this year.

While the ambitious 20 km a day road building programme of the UPA government remained a distant dream in the final year of the 5-year deadline, 2013 also saw change of guard with C P Joshi vacating the Road Minister's charge, making way for Oscar Fernandes who is optimistic that the sector will boom next year.

The year began with major infrastructure players like GVK, GMR exiting out of mega road contracts on account of problems such as delays in receiving the green nod, funding crunch and regulatory hurdles.

While the Road Ministry initiated a plethora of measures to attract bidders for its projects and prevent developers from abandoning road contracts midway, an apex court order delinking environment clearance from forest clearance paved the way for execution of stuck projects with investments of Rs 27,000 crore.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had sought Supreme Court intervention in the matter.

That apart, corporates had a near showdown when the government gave approval to 'Quadricycle', a new category of four-wheeled vehicle, to ply on roads. Many companies including Tata Motors opposed the proposal, as they were not ready with their prototypes. The proposal was revisited by the government and is yet to be finalised.

As regards the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, the government could not get it passed during the year. The Bill proposes hefty penalty for traffic rule violations including drunken driving.

Meanwhile, amid concerns over the reluctance of banks to give loans to infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the Highways Ministry to refer the matter to the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council.

Later in the year, the government approved a proposal for postponement of premium payments by highway developers in October and has referred the matter to a high-level panel, headed by PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan, for fine-tuning it.

Road Transport and Highways Minister Oscar Fernandes is confident that projects worth over Rs 1 lakh crore, which have been stuck for long, will start moving from next month as a concrete decision on the rescheduling of premium paid by developers is expected by the end of this month.

"I am hopeful that highway projects worth over Rs 1 lakh crore would be on stream next month onwards. The report of C Rangarajan Committee on premium rescheduling is likely to be accepted by month-end," Fernandes told PTI.

He said the move will pave the way for many upcoming infrastructure projects.

Post new comment

E-mail ID will not be published
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


  • The government might not get the timing right for its massive share sale plan

    A common thread binding the BJP’s first budget with the last three UPA budgets is the aggressive disinvestments targets set to mop up additional rev


Stay informed on our latest news!


GV Nageswara Rao

MD & CEO, IDBI Federal Life

Timothy Moe

Goldman Sachs

Chander Mohan Sethi

CMD, Reckitt Benckiser India


Tushar Gandhi

Welfare must be humanitarian not political

We are a very political people. We politicise and corrupt ...

Purnendu Ghosh

How to distinguish a need from a want?

The day when the annual budget is announced is one ...

Shona Adhikari

Decades apart, yet a common ground in fine art

Today’s column is about two artists born many decades apart, ...


William D. Green

Chairman & CEO, Accenture