Trouble seems to be brewing between the road transport ministry and the Planning Commission on the six-laning of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ), a highway network connecting the country’s four largest metro-polises Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
The Union Road Transport Ministry's plan to provide an impetus to the ailing road construction industry by awarding 4,000 km of road projects on Engineering Procurement and Contract (EPC) this fiscal is unlikely to happen due to delay in getting approvals for these projects.
The Union Road Transport Ministry and Highways has asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to expedite the process of resolving disputes with highway developers by the independent committee set up under the Authority to review individual cases and send its recommendations to the NHAI board. Since its inception earlier this year, the committee has taken up seven cases of pending claims but is yet to resolve any of them, said ministry officials.
Developers involved in widening four-lane roads to six lane may have to wait till the completion of the projects before collecting toll. The Union Road Transport Ministry is planning to rewrite the Model Concession Agreement (MCA) that allows them to collect toll.
The Union Road Transport Ministry is confident of meeting the government's Budget proposal to develop 3,000 km of highways in the first six months of 2013-14, a sharp scale-down from this year's target of 8,880 km target, around one-sixth of which has been met so far.
In its bid to bring relief to private vehicle owners (read cars) from paying toll on National Highways (NHs), the road transport ministry has moved a Cabinet proposal seeking to allow all such vehicles to ply across the entire NH network paying monthly, half-yearly or annual charges of approximately Rs 250, Rs 1,400 and Rs 2,500, respectively.
It is an alarming call for the assessment of bridges in India, especially post the collapse of an 88-year-old bridge on the Mumbai-Goa highway. To evaluate the structural health of all the bridges in a time-bound manner, a Bridge Management Information System (BMIS) was set up in February.
Stats have it: The year 2015 witnessed a massive 10,727 deaths due to crashes caused by potholes, speed breakers and roads that were under repair or being constructed. Further, pothole related accidents recorded a death toll of 3,416 last year, as compared to 3,039 the previous year.
Aiming at improving port connectivity in the country, the road transport ministry and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will together take up 82 projects under the ambitious Bharatmala project.