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Lower highway projects award target for FY19 raises challenges for Bharatmala programme: ICRA

Domestic credit rating agency, ICRA in its latest report has said that the Ministry of Road Transportation and Highways' lower target of awarding works for around 20,000 kilometres (km) length of National Highways during 2018-19, would make achievement of the Bharatmala programme's goals more challenging.

According to the report, in order to achieve the ambitious target for new highway development programme, which is 83,677 km by FY22, the award rate has to be more than double from what it was in FY18. It also pointed out that the target for FY19 has instead been lowered to 20,000 km from 25,000 km last year, which makes the achievement of Bharatmala targets even more challenging.

The rating agency has stated that this lower target is, however, about 17 percent more than the 17,055 km awarded during FY18, which by far has been the best year for the ministry, both in terms of execution and projects awarded. It also said that the government has decided to focus more execution in the current year. It added that given the ambitious target in Bharatmala the award rate should be upwards of 40,000 km for the next two years - FY19 and FY20.

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