'New govt should give top priority to land acquisition'

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Land acquisition is the topmost hurdle in the execution of highway projects in the country and should be dealt with on a priority basis by the incoming government, a top official of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has said.

"For us the roadmap is already there, basically land is the main bottleneck, with the new government we have to get on with the land acquisition part and roll out the programme," Road Secretary Vijay Chibber told PTI.

Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi, along with his Cabinet ministers, will take oath on May 26. Infrastructure projects are likely to get a major push under his regime.

The ministry has set a target of awarding 7,000 km worth of road projects during the financial year (2014-15), under the BOT (build, own, operate) and EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) models.

"This year we will award 7,000 km worth of projects through BOT and EPC, we are hoping that we would be able to get the procedural roadblocks amended," Chibber said.

The ministry which had set a target of awarding 9,000 km of projects in 2013-14 could award less than 2,000 km projects by the end of the period.

Meanwhile, the ministry also plans to enable electronic payment of toll at over 300 toll plazas across the country during the fiscal.

"Today there are 302 toll plazas, we will cover all 302 under ETC by the end of this (fiscal) year," he added.

ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) systems enable the electronic payment of highway tolls. This is a popular mode of toll collection worldwide which processes financial transactions without human intervention at toll plazas.

This is a hasslefree mode of toll collection as the users can pay the tax without stopping at the toll booths. It is aimed at easing traffic at the highways and reducing commuting time.

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