The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways is primarily responsible for development and maintenance of National Highways (NHs). The FY2011-12 has been an outstanding year for the Indian Road Sector. A record length of 7957 km of road project was awarded for strengthening/ up gradation and improvement. During the same period, over 2200 km of road development were completed. The ministry aims to achieve awarding 9500 km of road contracts and targets to complete 3500 km of completion during 2012-13.
The Government of India has recently approved construction of 1,000 km of expressways under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase VI. The criteria for expressway development are the trafﬁc volume on a particular corridor. The Vadodara-Mumbai Corridor covering length of 400 km is being one of the highest density corridor is given priority. The other identiﬁed stretches include Delhi-Chandigarh (249km) on NH-1 & NH-22, Bangalore-Chennai (334km) on NH-4, Delhi-Jaipur (261km) on NH-8, Delhi-Meerut (66km) on NH-58, Kolkata-Dhanbad (277km) on NH-2, and Delhi-Agra (200km) on NH-2, out of which remaining 600 is km to be undertaken based on outcome of pre-feasibility studies. Delhi-Jaipur expressway is also part of pre-feasibility studies. Presently work relating to ﬁxing the alignment of the expressway is going on.
HIGHWAY MANAGEMENT THROUGH OMT
Maintaining the asset quality of road/highways infrastructure is of paramount importance. To make use of the private sector expertise in operation and maintenance of highways, a model concession agreement (MCA) on Operate, Maintain and Transfer (OMT) basis is already approved. As per OMT, the operation and maintenance of the roads is assigned to a private party for a given concession period. The basic principles of OMT are similar to Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) with construction, operation and maintenance of highway reduced to merely operation and maintenance of highways. So far the projects identiﬁed under OMT are: For 2012-13: a) 6 projects with total length of 963 KM have already been awarded. b) 2998 km of stretches have been identiﬁed to be undertaken during the year. For 2013-14: a) 517 km have been identiﬁed to be undertaken during next year.
MODEL EPC DOCUMENT APPROVED
The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure has recently given nod to the Model Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Agreement Document for construction of 2-lane National Highways Works. The new model EPC document aims to minimize time and cost overrun in the implementation of NH projects and expects optimization of design and quality construction. The NH projects which are not viable through the BOT route are currently undertaken on item-rate contracts which are more prone to time and cost overruns. EPC model is likely to overcome these drawbacks and ensure smoother project implementation.
DISPUTE REDRESSAL MECHANISM
To boost conﬁdence of all the stakeholders, the Government is making an all effort. In this regard efforts are made to strengthen and activate Dispute Redressal Mechanism in Road Sector. In case of item rate contracts, the disputes are referred to Dispute Review Board (DRB) comprising three Members (one each to be appointed by the Employer & Contractor and 3rd is chosen by other two) as retired Chief Engineer & above and having experience in the similar type of works involved in the Contract. In case of PPP contracts, the discussions are held the CEO of the concessionaire and the Competent Authority of Employer.
NATIONAL ROAD SAFETY POLICY
The Government of India aims to ensure highest level of road safety. In this regard, the National Road Safety Policy is announced. The policy aims to promote awareness, create a database on road safety, encourage building of safer road infrastructure, use of intelligent transport systems, enforcement of safety laws, setting up of state road safety council and district road safety committees etc. Road safety has been made an integral part of road design at planning stage, conducting road safety audit of selected stretches of National Highways/ Expressways, enforcement of safety standards of vehicles, publicity campaigns on road safety awareness etc.
As part of this efforts, the funds spent on up gradation and repairs of NHs 26 and 86 during last three years and current year is as below:-
2012-13 (up to 30.06.2012)
State-Wise Pending Environmental Clearances For Road Projects
Border Roads Organization (BRO)$
$ - Includes other roads also.
-Sandeep Sharma, Executive Editor / Project Reporter