Highway construction in Q1 dips to 18 km a day amid Covid-19 pandemic

Daily road construction during the three-month-long nationwide hovered around 18 km a day as the government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) used labour optimally to complete work with minimal hindrance.

The constructed 1,640 kilometres in the first quarter (April-June) of the financial year 2020-21 (FY21). During this period, it awarded contracts for 1,658 km of highways.

The government says construction during the should be considered an achievement, as there was no activity in the first three weeks of the Construction activity was allowed with 50 per cent of labourers in the second phase of the lockdown.

“We usually do more than 20 km per day in the first quarter each year as this is the time when maximum construction activity takes place, but this year was different. There will be an overall impact on road construction as it is now the monsoon season and construction will only pick up after the festive season. We have to see how we can meet the target we have set,” an official said, requesting anonymity.

Latest figures, available till

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AAI puts GoAir on ‘cash and carry’ basis over non-payment of dues

The Airports Authority of India has decided to put on “cash and carry basis” from Tuesday because of non-payment of dues, meaning the low-cost airline will have to pay charges daily at AAI airports to operating flights from there, an official said.

The official said the AAI issued an order to its regional executive directors on Monday, which said, “The competent authority has approved to put the operation of on cash and carry basis out of all AAI airports with effect from 0001 hrs of 11th August 2020″.

“The same may also be informed to the concerned officials of at respective stations/airports/regions to make necessary arrangements to pay the required amount at the respective stations for day-to-day operation,” the order added.

An airline has to pay various charges — air navigation, landing, parking etc — to AAI, which works under the Civil Aviation Ministry, to use facilities at any of its more than 100 airports.

The airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are managed by private and not by AAI.

“GoAir is engaged in constructive discussions with AAI and would

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Afghan Peace Talks Expected In Days As Prisoner Release Approved

Afghan peace talks are expected to begin within days after authorities announced Monday they would soon start releasing hundreds of Taliban prisoners accused of brutal attacks, including on foreigners.

The fate of some 400 Taliban inmates has been a crucial hurdle in launching much-delayed talks between the militants and the Afghan government, who had committed to completing a prisoner exchange before negotiations could start.

Thousands of prominent Afghans on Sunday approved their release at the end of a three-day “loya jirga” — a traditional Afghan gathering of tribal elders and other stakeholders sometimes held to decide on controversial issues.

“Our stance is clear, if the prisoner release is completed, then we are ready for the intra-Afghan talks within a week,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told AFP.

Shaheen said the first round of talks would be held in Doha, Qatar.

“The Afghan government will start releasing the 400 Taliban prisoners within two days,” National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal told AFP on Monday.

Late on Monday, President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree ordering the release of the 400 prisoners, his office said.

The prisoner exchange was a key part of a deal signed by the Taliban and the United States in

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