India's national highway construction will likely reach only 32-34 km per day during the current financial year as input prices are expected to remain elevated, rating agency Crisil said on Monday.
The rating agency further said it expects the pace of highway construction to pick up post monsoon.
India's national highway construction slowed to 28.64 km a day in 2021-22, due to COVID-19 pandemic-related disruptions and a longer-than-usual monsoon in some parts of the country.
The pace of national highway (NH) construction in the country had touched a record 37 km per day in 2020-21.
Crisil said National highway projects hit a speed bump in the first quarter of this fiscal, with awarding by the Ministry of Road Transportation and Highways (MoRTH), including the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), falling a sharp 42 per cent on-year to 969 km.
Construction also slackened, down 14 per cent on-year to 1,966 km, translating to 22 km per day, as a surge in input prices led to developers delaying procurement of materials, it added.
According to the report, against this backdrop, awarding would need to scale up significantly in the next nine months to achieve the ministry's ambitious target of constructing 50 km per day.
The outlook, though, remains positive, it said, adding that project awarding had touched a high of 12,731 km last year.
This fiscal, Crisil said it estimates the ministry to award 12,000-13,000 km of national highway projects, largely under Bharatmala, with uptake spurred by developer friendly measures under Atmanirbhar Bharat that have been extended till October 2022.