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Road ministry flags NHAI for bypassing norms, Infra News, ET Infra

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<p>Representative Image</p>
Representative Image

NEW DELHI: Can the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) take up work and bid out widening of road stretches even before these are entrusted to it and notified? Flagging this rampant bypassing of norms, the road transport ministry has asked the NHAI to stop this practice immediately and get post facto approval for projects already bid out.

The ministry has told the highways authority that the current practice is contrary to law. As per the NH Act, the highways authority can undertake any work or bid out projects only after the stretches are notified as NHs and the roads must be entrusted to it.

In a letter addressed to the NHAI, the ministry has said that while scrutinising the entrustment proposals of the authority, it found that work on several stretches have been awarded, agreement signed and work started even without getting the NH sections entrusted to the NHAI. In some cases, this has been done even without NH declaration.

It has asked the NHAI to submit the list of all stretches where work has been awarded and agreement have been signed to the ministry immediately for entrustment seeking one time condonation. “Henceforth, civil work agreement should be signed after declaration of the section as NHs and its entrustment to NHAI. The NHAI should take up the start of any new work only when it is part of any approved scheme or entrusted. Any new work shall be initiated only after the formal concurrence of the ministry is obtained,” the letter said.

The ministry said in several cases while initiating the toll notification proposals requests are received from the NHAI for entrustment of stretches to them. “Sometimes proposals are received for notification of NHs particularly for bypasses and ring roads even after the work is awarded which is not the correct way of working,” it wrote.

The ministry has also said that for entrustment of brownfield stretches (already built roads) after declaration as NHs, getting the no objection certificates (NOCs) from the state governments concerned is mandatory for transfer of their assets. It has asked the NHAI to direct its field officers to get the NOCs for such brownfield NH sections for which the authority has signed agreement with private players for expansion or work has started.

While for greenfield NHs, no NOC is required from the state governments, the ministry has found that around 1,600 km of such stretches have not yet been entrusted to the NHAI. The authority has been asked to seek entrustment of such NHs from the ministry “immediately”.

  • Published On Oct 5, 2023 at 08:05 AM IST

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