The road transport ministry is expediting the setting up of the proposed Expressways Authority of India and plans to put up the draft proposal in the next two weeks to invite comments for setting up the authority.
"We will put up the draft proposal for the Expressways Authority on our website in the next two weeks," transport minister Kamal Nath said in New Delhi. The Expressways Authority of India would look exclusively at the requirements of building expressways.
Nath had announced the proposal for a separate expressways authority back in July. He had indicated that the new authority would be on similar lines as the National Highways Development Authority (See: Separate body for expressways likely: Kamal Nath)
Nath also said the target of achieving 20km of road construction a day would be reached by March next year. For this, the work in progress across the country should be at least 20,000km, he said.
Soon after taking charge of the ministry in May, Nath had set a target of building 20 km of highways a day.
When asked if the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided on the ministry's proposal to vest the ownership of highways with the authority, Nath said, "NHAI is talking to financial institutions to see what gives them comfort."
The Ministry had sent a proposal to NHAI asking its opinion on vesting with it the ownership of highways so that the authority can give highway projects to developers on long term-lease to enable them to raise loans easily against the lease.
Currently, highways belong to the government of India and NHAI gives only licenses to private companies for developmental work and these companies cannot provide such highways as security for availing loans on easy terms.