Enhanced Rs 1.18 cr outlay for highways; execution of flagship corridors, projs to speed up: FM Sitharaman

New Delhi: Allocating an enhanced outlay of Rs 1.18 lakh crore for the highways sector for 2021-21, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said execution of flagship highways corridors as well as projects are bound to speed up.

An allocation of Rs 91,823 crore was made to highways for 2020-21, which was revised to Rs 1.01 lakh crore.

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“I am… providing an enhanced outlay of Rs 1,18,101 lakh crore for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, of which Rs 1,08,230 crore is for capital, the highest ever,” said Sitharaman in her Budget speech while tabling the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament.

She added that some of the flagship corridors and other important projects would see considerable activity in 2021-22.

More than 13,000 km of roads at a cost of Rs 3.3 lakh crore has already been awarded under the Rs 5.35-lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojana, of which 3,800 km have been constructed.

“By March 2022, we would be awarding another 8,500 km and complete an additional 11,000 km of national highway corridors,” she said.

To further augment road infrastructure, more economic corridors are also being planned, the FM said adding that 3,500 km of national highway works in Tamil Nadu at an investment of Rs 1.03 lakh crore.

These include Madurai-Kollam corridor, Chittoor-Thatchur corridor, she said adding that construction will start next year.

The FM said 1,100 km of national highway works will be undertaken in Kerala at an investment of Rs 65,000 crore, including a 600-km section of Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor. In addition, 675 km of highway works in West Bengal at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore, including up-gradation of existing road-Kolkata –Siliguri, will also be undertaken.

Besides, national highway works of around Rs 19,000 crore are currently in progress in Assam, she said. Further works of over Rs 34,000 crore covering more than 1,300 km of national highways will be undertaken in the state in the coming three years, the FM added.

The flagship projects that are to be expedited include Delhi-Mumbai Expressway; while for Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway, 278 km will be initiated in the current financial year and construction will begin in 2021-22.

The Delhi-Dehradun Economic Corridor work will be initiated in the current financial year, while the Kanpur-Lucknow Expressway work will be initiated in 2021-22.

Likewise, a 277-km Chennai-Salem corridor will be awarded soon and construction would start in 2021-22. In addition, Raipur-Visakhapatnam 464-km project passing through Chhattisgarh, Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh will be awarded in the current year and construction will start in 2021-22.

Amritsar-Jamnagar construction will commence in 2021-22, while Delhi-Katra construction will commence in 2021-22.

Terming the Budget a pragmatic one, Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Minister Nitin Gadkari said the provisions for augmenting infrastructure will go a long way in laying a sound infra for the country.