March 27, 2011 11:24:32 am
The highways authority should focus on developing roads rather than “finding avenues to fill its coffers”,a Parliamentary panel has said,expressing concern over tardy progress of highway projects.
It also noted the slow progress of highway projects being executed by NHAI under the NHDP,and slammed the Road Ministry for failing to complete the crucial North South – East West (NS-EW) corridor.
“The Committee hopes that NHAI will concentrate more on development of roads rather than finding avenues to fill its coffers,” Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport,Chaired by Sitaram Yechury has said in a report.
“The Committee is very much concerned over the tardy progress of projects under NHDP…it feels that the NHAI which is having sufficient funds in its coffer is not serious in implementing major projects,” it added.
The main focus of National Highways Development Project (NHDP) is to develop international quality roads for smooth flow of traffic.
About 48,254 Km roads,worth Rs 54,000 crore,are being built and upgraded under various phases of NHDP. They include 7,300 Km NS-EW,one of the largest highway projects — Phase I and II.
“The Committee fails to understand the logic behind delay in completion of North South and East West corridors even after the lapse of reasonable period,” the panel said.
Under NS-EW,the four/six lane highways connecting Srinagar,Kanyakumari,Porbandar and Silchar was to be completed by December 2009. However,till February 2011,only 5,560 Km has been four-laned.
The panel said NHAI was not following standard guidelines in offering compensation to land owners for road projects.
The Road Ministry has said the delay in NS-EW project was mainly on account of delays in land acquisition,obtaining forest and environment clearances and law and order problems.
It said it has taken steps to expedite the progress of work by setting up of special land acquisition units (SLAUs).
“Concerted efforts are being made by NHAI to implement the projects under NS-EW corridors without further delay and also take up implementation of of other phases of NHDP effectively,” the Ministry has told the panel.
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