Govt raises allocation to NHAI by 44% for road maintenance | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The road transport and highways ministry has revised the allocation to the NHAI for maintenance of national highways (NHs) at Rs 1,300 crore, which is nearly 44% more than the existing allocation for the current financial year. This comes amid concerns raised over the proper maintenance of the NHs, including by a parliamentary standing committee.
In an order issued last week, the ministry said it has allocated an additional Rs 400 crore for the maintenance of NHs under the NHAI over the existing allocation of Rs 900 crore. This amount will be used only for the specific purpose. The NHAI has taken a special drive to make all its stretches potholes free.
Similarly, the allocation for maintenance of NHs by state public works departments (PWDs) has been revised to Rs 280 crore compared to the earlier allocation of Rs 132 crore. Officials said additional allocations have also been made for repair of roads damaged due to rain in different states. “The ministry revises allocation of funds considering the requirement from time to time,” an official said, while adding that even the current level of fund allocation for maintenance of the road assets which are with the highway authority and state PWDs is less.
Nearly 50% of the NH network in the country is still managed by the state PWDs and the state agencies get the fund for this from the road transport ministry.
In recent years, the department related parliamentary committees have flagged concerns over inadequate allocation of funds for maintenance and repair (M&R) of NHs and have repeatedly recommended that the government should increase the allocation for this in the Union budget.
In its last report titled “Issues Relating to Road Sector”, the panel had mentioned that the NHAI and highways ministry were managing the M&R of NHs with an allocation of just about 40% of the actual requirements estimated by the ministry. Recommending for 100% allocation of fund to meet the requirement, the panel had said, “Maintenance and repair should be given higher priority than construction of new NHs…Any reduction in budget for M&R may result in deterioration of the roads constructed with hundreds of crores of national budget which will be national wastage.”
In fact, despite the high pace of construction and widening of highways, the government has often faced criticism for poor maintenance of some of NH stretches. Union highways minister Nitin Gadkari has also directed the engineers to go for materials that have a long life and don’t require frequent repair and maintenance.


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