Reacting to the budget announcement for an extension of the national road network by 25,000 km in the financial year 2023, Sandeep Singh, Managing Director, Tata Hitachi believes that the target will not be easy to achieve given the levels current execution which amounts to approximately 7,000 km until December 2021 although efforts are being made to extend it to 10,000-12,000 km by the end of the current financial year.

The initial plan was to construct about 14,600 km of road in fiscal year 2022. He added that even if the level of execution reaches the 15,000 km mark out of the targeted 25,000 km, it should be deemed satisfactory. by the construction equipment industry.

Singh, who is also the former chairman of the Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association (ICEMA), an industry body, pointed to delays in land acquisitions, environmental clearances and liquidity issues. resulting from the tightening of lending standards by NBFCs from January 2022 are some of the major reasons for the downturn in the roads and infrastructure sector.

The situation contrasts with fiscal year 2021, where despite the pandemic, a total of 13,298 km of road construction could be completed thanks to massive infrastructure spending by the government. Average daily road construction currently stands at around 22-23 km compared to around 35 km previously.

The report of the economic survey released on January 31 states that the country’s total road network stands at around 63.71 lakh km as of March 2019, which is the second largest in the world after the United States which has 66 .45 lakh km of roads. In order to achieve a GDP of $5 trillion by 2024-2025, India needs to spend around $1.4 trillion in those years on infrastructure. In the fiscal year 2008-17, India invested about US$1.1 trillion in infrastructure. However, the challenge is to significantly increase investment in infrastructure. With this objective in mind, the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) has been launched with a planned infrastructure investment of approximately Rs 111 lakh crore (US$1.5 trillion) for the period of fiscal 2020- 2025.

Continuing its efforts towards infrastructure development, the budget foresees greater penetration through har ghar jal yojna– a program to provide clean water to every household, the PM GatiShakti master plan for highways, among others, which could end up providing a recovery for the construction equipment industry from the next financial year. “If they execute really well, it will be good for us,” Singh said.

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