New Delhi: In order to carry out the maintenance and repair work at national highways, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has sought an additional Rs 1,000 crore.

"An additional requirement of Rs 1,000 crore is required for maintenance and repair of national highways in 2011-12," a ministry official said.

The Finance Ministry has provided Rs 1,027.25 crore so far in the current fiscal to the C P Joshi-led ministry for the job against the estimated requirement of Rs 2,800 crore.

Total length of the country's national highways network currently stands at 70,934 km.

"The absence of adequate funds for the timely maintenance of national highways might result in premature rehabilitation at a much higher level of investment," he said.

The Road Ministry, he rued, has been under severe public criticism due to its inability to take up maintenance works on the national highways as per the requirement.

Since 2002-03, the Road Ministry has never received its actual annual requirements for maintenance and repair of the national highways. The shortfall was the highest in 2004-05 at 69.94 per cent and the lowest in 2010-11 at 26.53 per cent.

Last fiscal, the Budgetary Estimate (BE) on this account was hiked by Rs 1,000 crore under the Revised Estimate (RE) and the Road Ministry had received a total of Rs 2,056.96 crore for maintenance and repair works.

The Road Ministry official said if the allocation was at all provided under RE, indications were there that it might come only in December, same as in the last fiscal.

"This poses difficulty in taking up timely actions for preparation of estimates commensurate to available funds, their sanctioning, tendering, award and implementation.

As such, expenditure may not be commensurate to enhanced RE allocation even if allocation for repair and maintenance is enhanced to match the estimated fund requirements," he said.

(Agencies)