NHAI agrees to 25 suggestions made by NHBF to ease highway construction

In order to resolve issues and increase the pace of construction of highway projects, NHAI has agreed to most of the suggestions made by the National Highways Builders Federation (NHBF) related to project delivery, according to an NHAI press release. The suggestions were made pertaining to nine areas that included Covid relief, bidding process, contract management, old & new model EPC agreements, improvement of concession agreement of Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM), improvement of concession agreement based on BOT (Toll) and project preparation.

The suggestions made by NHBF were deliberated by NHAI for proper redressal and the authority has agreed to 25 suggestions which were related to NHAI. The Authority has assured that all good suggestions shall be positively considered in future too.

Other suggestions pertaining to policy related matters have been sent to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways for consideration. Some of the key suggestions accepted by NHAI are:

•    With regard to Covid Relief, Extension of Time to contractor/concessionaire for construction period without imposition of any cost or penalty shall be granted by the Project Director up to three months and Regional Officer for more than three months and up to six months.

•    In order to enable the bidder to have an assessment of road condition at the time of bidding, NHAI shall provide DPR along with Network Survey Vehicle (NSV)/LIDAR data as per availability to the bidders. All survey data collected by DPR consultants will be made available to agencies under one platform through Data Lake.

•    To ensure timely payments to vendors and their monitoring, submission of bills related to project payments shall be done through PMS/Data Lake Portal.

“NHAI in the past has taken various initiatives from time to time to support concessionaires, contractors and consultants, which also instilled confidence in the bidders of the road sector. In March 2020, NHAI disbursed Rs 10,000 crore through online payments and ensured that no payments remain pending due to closure of office during the lock down. In the first quarter of current financial year, NHAI disbursed more than Rs 15,000 crore to the vendors. Additionally, steps such as monthly payments to the contractors were taken to ensure cash flow to the contractors. Such moderations resulted in spiraling effect on the growth of the road sector,” the press release said.