2018: The road ahead for Nitin Gadkari

The ministries of road transport and highways, and shipping have BJP strongman Nitin Gadkari at its helm. The two ministries saw a host of announcements in 2017. But delivery of these is crucial for economic growth to pick up, as the ruling alliance enters the last year of its tenure in 2018. Megha Manchanda does a status check of the key announcements, status and challenges ahead:

Main Target: Construct 41 km a day of highways in 2017-18

Status: Average construction 28 km a day

March 2017: Gadkari talks about a policy to integrate various modes of transport for 50% reduction in logistics costs

Status: Ministry of shipping approves plan to build 34 mega multi-modal logistics parks for Rs 2 lakh crore; full-fledged policy yet to come out 

April 2017: Minister says first phase of the 135-km Eastern Peripheral Expressway project to be done by August 2017

Status: Project is about 70% complete and likely to be open later this year

May 2017: Gadkari says Centre to put an electric vehicle policy in place by the end of this year; informal group of ministers submits draft policy to cabinet secretary

Status: In December, a road ministry official says policy at a nascent stage and will take a while 

June 2017: Minister says plans on to launch a dedicated international subsidiary of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for projects abroad

Status: Proposal at preliminary stage; NHAI subsidiary unlikely but NHAI takes up international highway construction projects

August 2017: Minister says at least a dozen expressways to be made in 2018; work on three to start in 2017

Status: Government yet to decide alignment of proposed projects

October 2017: Cabinet clears the Bharatmala project to construct 20,000 km of highways connecting west and east at an estimated Rs 7 lakh crore

Phase-I to be undertaken over three-five years; project to cost Rs 5.5 lakh crore; 2018 to be crucial for this ambitious scheme

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