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NHAI to focus on land acquisition for new projects

NHAI has begun the process of prioritising projects based on their financial viability and this exercise is part of the same strategy

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 07.53 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is firming up a strategy to prioritise land acquisition for projects that are set to be awarded over the next two to three years in a bid to speed up execution of economically viable road projects, officials aware of the matter said. “We are trying to work on a land acquisition plan, so a pipeline of projects to be undertaken in the near future is ready,” said an NHAI official who requested not to be named.

“This is for projects which will be bid out over the next two-three years.”

NHAI has begun the process of prioritising projects based on their financial viability and this exercise is part of the same strategy, officials said.

It will help streamline the land acquisition process as it remains one of the most crucial-yet-cumbersome part of building roads, they said.

“We are trying to realign our focus on land acquisition based on viability of projects,” a second official said. “Earlier we used to acquire land for all projects, without really questioning whether they were viable or not.”

As ET reported on October 23, NHAI has created a pipeline of projects worth . Rs 7-8 lakh crore to be awarded over the next three years as part of a government push to create a national infrastructure pipeline to make India a $5-trillion economy over the next five years. The authority wants to have land ready for building these roads with minimum glitches and delays.

As this pipeline gets created and approved eventually, NHAI would want to have land ready for building these. “We are trying to ensure that land acquisition should be done through the Bhoomi Rashi portal only,” another official said. “This way, the payment should reach the beneficiary directly.”

The road transport and highways ministry had in January launched the Bhoomi Rashi portal to digitise the process of land acquisition leading to delayed approvals. The contours of its land policy, however, may take some time to be finalised, as NHAI has seen a rejig at the top with Sukhbir Singh Sandhu appointed as chairman just eight months after his predecessor NN Sinha took charge.

“Now it’s a wait and watch moment for NHAI as it remains to be seen how soon the new chairman settles in and policies in the works move ahead,” said a source who did not wish to be identified

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