The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had set an ambitious goal of floating tenders worth 1.75 lakh crore for 10,460 km in the current fiscal (FY18), but it looks set to miss the target by more than a mile. Only, 2,700 km of projects worth 43,000 crore have been awarded thus far, with 8,768 km of tenders to be awarded in just two months. This muted activity results from delayed land acquisition, but the NHAI is now speeding up the process by awarding projects only after 80% of the land has been acquired. In line with the government’s effort to improve road connectivity in the eastern and north-eastern zone, 38% of existing projects awarded this year reflect on this priority. The hybrid-annuity model (HAM), which was introduced in 2016 to ensure NHAI’s projects take off faster, will also play a big role. HAM is a combination of EPC (40%) and BOT-Annuity (60%). While NHAI chips in with 40% of the total project cost, the developer brings in the balance. Going ahead, NHAI plans to award about 61% of the upcoming projects on HAM basis, with a bigger focus on western India. Whether everything will fall into place remains to be seen now.