Apex highways regulatory body in the offing

Apex highways regulatory body in the offing

Apex highways regulatory body in the offing

With more and more roads being built under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) where private developers are allowed to collect toll from the users, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has found it desirable to have an independent regulatory authority. The proposed authority will be responsible for fixing toll rate and ensuring the road developers’ accountability for maintaining good condition roads and other services.

At present the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) performs not only the executive authority vested with powers to develop highway projects but also doubles up as a regulator.

A senior NHAI official told Deccan Herald that the government was seriously mulling over a proposal to constitute an independent authority for ensuring that road contractors and developers maintained the standards that they were mandated to under PPP agreement with NHAI.

 Apart from building roads, the road developers are also supposed to provide other value-added facilities like parking slots, restaurants and rest houses along the highways. The toll levied on the users include not only payment towards good roads but also all these add-on services.

The Ministry has been receiving complaints from the road users about the developers collecting toll charges without providing the mandated facilities and services. It is, therefore, felt that an independent regulator would be in order. The regulator would monitor road conditions, quality of the add-on facilities and it would have powers to impose penalties on developers for their laxity.

A parliamentary panel on Public Undertakings has recently pulled up the Road Transport Ministry over its failure to provide road-side amenities in most of the roads after the completion of the highway projects concerned which were undertaken on  PPP basis.

Smooth ride ahead?
*  Road users can seek claim from developers for poor service
*  Developers responsible for improving road conditions
*  NHAI is the executing agency and regulator of road projects
*  Pvt developers should now provide parking on highways
*  Govt wants NHAI to impose penalty on pvt developers for laxity