Despite Covid, highway construction breaks all time records: Gadkari -

Despite Covid, highway construction breaks all time records: Gadkari

NEW DELHI: Beating the Covid pandemic, highway construction touched a high of 11,032 km till February creating a new record, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday. The average daily construction of 33 km is nearly a three-fold increase over the pace of highway building during 2013-14, the last year of UPA-II.
The Indian Railways also claimed that the cumulative freight loading till Sunday exceeded the figures of last year for the same period (till February 28). It said a total of 1,102.2 million tonnes (MTs) of freight was loaded till Feb-end this financial year as against 1,102.1 MT till February 28 during the previous year. In 2020, February had 29 days.

While launching an IT platform to monitor the live traffic situation at toll plazas, Gadkari said the achievement in NH construction was made despite the Covid-induced challenges and non-availability of labourers during the lockdown. He said the government is still hopeful of achieving the target of 40-km per day in the remaining one month of the financial year.
“Because of mandatory use of FASTag our revenue from toll has gone up and that too despite protesters in Punjab and parts of Haryana and Rajasthan not allowing us to collect toll and nearly 7% people are still paying cash for the user fee. The toll collection through FASTag has touched Rs 108 crore,” Gadkari said.
NHAI chairman S S Sandhu said the annual increase in toll revenue is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore while comparing with the same toll rate and the same number of toll plazas of last year. “If we take an absolute estimate, we will earn Rs 13,000 crore from toll collection,” he added.
Sources said the transparent system for toll collection through FASTag has plugged all leakages and this actual revenue realisation will help NHAI when it’s accelerating to monetise its completed roads. NHAI also said the average waiting time at toll plazas has reduced drastically to a maximum of two-and-a-half minutes. “Nearly 80% of the toll plazas have no waiting time. We are monitoring and taking steps to see this happen across all toll plazas,” Sandhu said.

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