NHAI asked to rein in contractors

NHAI asked to rein in contractors

In the wake of several projects getting stuck for over years after contractors demanding the cost escalation up to three to four times, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is planning stern action against contractors either by terminating them or ceasing their bank guarantees, sources told Deccan Herald.

This development comes in the backdrop of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation raising concerns over the delay in the execution of 105 projects, pending for periods ranging from one to over five years.

The Ministry in its report identified that while 14 projects are facing delay of up to one year, 15 have been delayed for about two years. Sixty projects are facing delay of up to five years and 16 schemes have been delayed for more than five years.

The delay in implementing the projects is also attributed to impediment in land acquisition. Though the highway building tender was awarded after 85 per cent of land was acquired, now the ministry is planning to award tender only after it acquired 100 per cent land.  The responsibility of completing 100 per cent land acquisition is also lies in the hands of the state governments.

“Due to procedural formalities, court cases and low-level co-operation from state government officials, there has been inordinate delay in acquiring land for various projects.  The distribution  of compensation to the affected land owners  by the competent authority is also affected in many cases,” an NHAI official said, adding that the ministry would  write to the states citing reasons for such lapses.

It may be noted that recently, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had raised the issue and asked the ministry to upgrade the quality and length of the highway network in the country.

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