Tribune News Service
Gurgaon motorists, it seems, are on the wrong side of the law, and the road! Steering clear of the traffic rules, most motorists in the “premier” city believe in driving on the wrong side of the road. On an average, more than a 2,000 motorists are challaned for the offence per month.
As the traffic regulation and road safety case came up for resumed hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court today, Justice Rajive Bhalla was told that 17,000 challans were issued for the offence from January 1 to July 10 this year.
Taking note of the assertion, Justice Bhalla observed the data was an indicator of the tendency to drive on the wrong side. “If 17,000 challans were issued, another 50,000 may not have been caught,” he observed. “All this shows that the entire city was driving on the wrong side.”
The judge said something was amiss in the policing, the roads, the road markings or the people. Not issuing challans for not wearing helmets and seat belts did not escape Justice Bhalla’s attention. After scanning the data, he observed that figures failed to indicate challaning for both the offences.
He said putting on helmets on seeing the traffic policemen was the norm in Gurgaon, as the authorities concerned were yet to apply brakes to the violations. Updates on the installation of CCTV cameras at strategic points were also sought.
Justice Bhalla had earlier asked Haryana to come out with a traffic management plan for Gurgaon. The High Court has zeroed in on Gurgaon in Haryana and Amritsar in Punjab as benchmarks. The directions issued for the two cities would eventually be made applicable to other cities of the two states after testing their efficacy. Justice Bhalla has already made it clear that the court wanted the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act be complied with in letter and spirit to ensure road safety.
The judge had also taken note of the fact that the authorities concerned in Gurgaon had not moved much beyond issuing challans to the traffic violators; and had directed the deputy commissioner “to ensure the vehicles are parked in the earmarked parking, whether within or outside public and private buildings, markets, malls and offices”.
The budget stepped up focus on the highways and expressways with an eye to improve the supply chain as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley set aside Rs 37,880 crore for the road transport sector. The minister also said NHAI shall set aside Rs 500 crore for project preparation.”The sector (roads) had taken shape from 1998-2004 under NDA-I. The sector again needs huge amount of investment along with de-bottlenecking from maze of clearances,” Jaitley said. The proposed investment in NHAI and state roads also includes Rs 3,000 crore for the northeast.Jaitley set a target of 8,500 km of highway construction during this financial year. He said work would begin on select expressways along with development of industrial corridors.
The allocation under the plan head is about 21% higher than what road transport ministry and all other agencies including NHAI could spend in 2013-14. The step is expected to speed up construction and award of road projects through government funding.
In the last two financial years, the sector went through a bad patch as private sector investment declined significantly and over 20 projects failed to get bids.
Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said his ministry will move a proposal to be able to clear projects up to Rs 1,000 crore against the present limit of Rs 500 crore.
CUTTACK: The district administration on Monday pulled down unauthorized constructions on government land near Petanal in Bidanasi here amid tight security. Over 30 illegal structures, including houses and shops, were demolished. The eviction was done to make way for construction of a road in the area.
Tension prevailed when the demolition squad reached the area in the morning. Locals staged protest, alleging that the eviction drive was illegal. “The authorities had not served us any notice to vacate the land before carrying out the eviction. We have been staying in the area for the past so many decades and suddenly they came and evicted us. It is unfair,” said Sabitri, a resident of the area. To avoid any untoward incident, the district administration deployed eight platoons of police at the spot.
The authorities refuted the allegations. “In June last year, we had carried out eviction in the area but the evictees re-encroached on the lands. Due to fresh constructions, we were not able to move ahead with the road project,” said a government officer.
He said the drive was undertaken according to direction of the Orissa high court. During the first-phase eviction drive, seven persons were injured in a clash between slum dwellers and policemen.
The Defence and Forest and Environment ministries have given the go ahead to the proposed 150 km alternate highway to NH 31A, exclusively for defence purposes in Sikkim and West Bengal.
The stretch from Damdim, Chalsa to Rhenock has been allotted to the National Highways Authority of India and the remaining 51 kilometre to the PWD department for expansion, Chief Engineer Project Swastik SS Powral told PTI here.
The proposed route will cover Damdim, Chalsa, Khunia More, Jaldhaka and Tokday in West Bengal. The Khunia More to Rhenock axis via Rachela a distance of about 75 km linked up with the 51 km stretch from Rhenock to Ranipool via Rorathang. The proposal was floated by BRO Project Swastik in 2010-11.
Defence sources said that after the ministry was informed that NHAI had expressed reservations over taking up the project in Darjeeling district in West Bengal, it was allocated to Project Swastik under BRO.
Meanwhile, the state government has been preparing the Detailed Project Report on the up gradation of the road from Rhenock to Rorathang via Pakyong to Ranipool area which would be submitted soon.
At present, the condition of NH 31-A was not the best for defence purposes especially after the earthquake in 2011 and was very vulnerable, Powral added.
(This article was published on November 25, 2013)
DC | G. Jagannath |
Chennai: Faced with hurdles, Rs 600 crore Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) would miss the December deadline for work’s completion.
EMRIP, which was conceptualised in 1998, envisages improvement of about 30 km road network in North Chennai to ease flow of truck traffic from Chennai and Ennore ports and improve road connectivity between ports to national highway network.
“We have so far completed 75 per cent of the road project. Most of the widening and improvement works on Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti Road (9 km), northern segment of Inner Ring Road (8.1 km), Ennore Expressay (6 km) and Manali Oil Refinery Road (MORR) (5.4 km) were completed except for few stretches where the land was not handed over,” a senior NHAI official said.
Delay in shifting of the drinking water pipeline running beneath the MORR has affected road widening works.
“The metro water is expected to complete the shifting works only by December. Only after that we will be able to complete road widening works,” the official said. As far as construction of the bridge across Kosathalaiyar at Napalayam on TPP road, the official said the works would be completed only by February next year.
NHAI official said that no headway was made in shifting tenements in Cherian Nagar and Nalla Thanneer Odai (NTO) Kuppam along Ennore Expressway and handing over the 1.6 km stretch from Zero gate to S.N. Chetty Street in the port trust.
“If the tenements were not shifted, we will be forced to handover those stretches to the state government for widening,” the official said.
The Chennai port trust officials were not able to begin reclamation of land on seafront as demanded by fishermen for parting their land in lieu of construction of carriageway from Zero Gate to S.N. Chetty Road. Only after getting the coastal regulatory zone clearance, the reclamation would be started.
Manu Balachandran |
Current policy bars equity transfer, only allows substitution of concessionaire after which a new SPV has to be formed to undertake the road project
The union road ministry is looking to tweak an exit policy announced for highway projects this year in a bid to provide a breather to concessionaires looking to exit road projects. The ministry is currently considering a proposal by NHAI which allows a developer to sell or transfer his stake in a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed to develop a road project.
Road projects in India are undertaken through an SPV which comprises the concessionaire, lenders and NHAI and the project is usually awarded for a period of 20-25 years. The construction is usually done in 3 years and the tolling period starts on completion of construction.
The current policy does not allow the transfer of equity and merely allows a substitution of a concessionaire following which a new SPV has to be then formed to undertake the road project. The exit policy announced by the government in July this year found no takers as the new SPV was not eligible for the perquisites offered to the original SPV including a tax holiday of 10 years.
“This was the original recommendation that NHAI had put forward. But the government formulated the new policy which required the creation of a new SPV once a concessionaire is substituted and thereby there were a host of concerns including the issue of Tax holiday”, a senior official at NHAI said.
Meanwhile, concessionaires looking to exit the project will continue to need approvals from the lenders of the project and from NHAI. In addition, the exiting concessionaire will also have to pay a penalty of 1 per cent of the entire project cost. “They should remove the penalty first and come out with a comprehensive policy. There are also concerns over Income tax and taxation concerns and the government should address them”, B.Murali, Director General at National Highway Builders federation said.
Road projects in India have been struggling since the past few years largely due to private developers staying away from road projects in the country. In addition, lenders have also been staying away from funding road projects over various concerns. In an interview with Business Standard, minister for Road Transport, Oscar Fernandes had acknowledged that the funding for projects remain the biggest constraint.
The ministry meanwhile has asked the finance ministry to look at rescheduling premium worth Rs 151000 crore that developers owe NHAI. The finance ministry has in turn set up a committee under C.Rangarajan to study the terms and conditions of rescheduling and the committee is expected to come out with their recommendation next month.
The government is also looking at the option of doing road shows in countries including China and Australia to attract investments in the road sector after domestic companies have stayed back from investing in road projects. The ministry is expected to make a presentation to the Prime Minister soon.
Press Trust of India |
: L&T Infrastructure Development Projects (L&T IDPL) today said it will 4-lane the 161.73 km stretch on the Sambalpur-Rourkela road in Odisha for about Rs. 1,293 crore.A contract for the project, on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, has already been awarded to the subsidiary of the engineering and construction major L&T by the Odisha government, the company said in a statement.
“L&T IDPL has been awarded a contract by the government of Odisha for developing a road project estimated at a total cost of Rs.1,293 crore,” it said.
The road project issued by the Odisha Works Department, will be built under the public-private-partnership model. L&T IDPL had bid for a grant of Rs. 465.30 crore for four-laning the Sambalpur-Rourkela section of the state highway.
“The stretch extends for 161.73 km and has been offered for a concession period of 22 years, including construction period of three years. This will be L&T IDPL’s first road project in Odisha to be executed on a BOT basis,” it said.
The concession agreement for the project was signed between Sambalpur Rourkela Tollways Ltd, a special purpose vehicle formed for the project by L&T IDPL and the Government of Odisha.
“Currently, the road has two lanes and has to be widened to four lanes along with other facilities such as flyovers, underpasses, bridges, bus bays, rest areas and service roads,” L&T IDPL said.
L&T IDPL will be entitled to collect appropriate tolls after the completion of construction, based on a pre- determined toll policy issued by the state government.
Vibhor Mohan, TNN |
CHANDIGARH: Travelling between Mohali and Patiala will become much safer and faster as Punjab Infrastructure Development Board is set to upgrade SAS Nagar – Landhran – Chunni -Sirhind – Patiala state highway by making it four-laned and adding features such as overbridges, truck lay bays and padestrian crossings.Four-laning of 50.7-km long Zirakpur-Patiala national highway number 64 is already underway and road acquisition has been done at most places. A feasibility study has already been conducted and after getting financial bids in 2012, trees have been felled along the existing road.
A large number of regular commuters between Patiala and Chandigarh have begun using the Sirhind-Patiala road link due to relatively lesser traffic and better road. The route is particularly used by those coming to PGI or Panjab University as they get a direct link to these institutes.
A Punjab government official said Punjab Infrastructure Development Board is working on widening of the SAS Nagar – Landhran – Chunni -Sirhind – Patiala road link and request for proposal for preparing the detailed project report has already been invited by the board.
Both the projects would be taken up by raising loans from the World Bank and in public-private partnership. For this, commuters will have to pay at toll plazas to be set up on the basis of surveys conducted by consultants.
The proposed upgradation of the state highway will include construction of bus bays and bus shelters and truck lay byes located near check-barriers, places of conventional stops of the truck operators. Pedestrian and cattle crossing by way of unnderpass/overpass will be provided on the basis of traffic count assessment.
The existing national highway is single lane and prone to accidents as the road is not just narrow, it has no road dividers and railing is missing at most places on narrow bridges on water bodies.
On the Zirakpur-Patiala stretch, toll plaza will be set up at one point between Zirakpur and Rajpura and another between Rajpura and Patiala.
Press Trust of India |
: IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd today said it has tied up loans worth over Rs. 3,029 crore for financing road projects in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Maharashtra.The loan agreements have been signed with IndusInd Bank, IL&FS Financial Services and Yes Bank, it said.
“The company was issued a Letter of Award by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for development and operation of six laning of Barwa Adda Panagarh Section of NH-2…in the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal,” the company said in a filing to BSE.
“The financial tie-up of loans aggregating to Rs. 1,704.40 crore has been achieved and the loan agreements have been executed with IndusInd Bank and IL&FS Financial Services Ltd,” the company said.
The project, estimated at Rs. 2,434.86 crore, is on toll basis with a concession period of 20 years, including construction period of 910 days, the company added.
In another filing, the company said it has been awarded project by NHAI “for four laning of Khed-Sinnar Section on NH-50…in the state of Maharashtra under NHDP Phase IV on design, build, finance and operate and transfer basis.”
“The financial tie-up of loans aggregating to Rs. 1,325 crore has been achieved and loan agreements have been executed with Yes Bank Ltd,” it said.
This project, with an estimated cost of Rs. 2015.29 crore, is also on toll basis with a concession period of 20 years, it added.
Jenny Rogers |
Global Road Technology’s soil stabilisation and trench compaction products will be used to build highways in India. Pic: Supplied
BUNDALL-based infrastructure company Global Road Technology has inked a $115 million road-building deal with Indian construction and energy giant Triace.
The three-year contract will enable the company to put its instant highway technology to work on projects covering 7000km of Maharashtra, India’s most populous and third largest state.
The Triace deal followed the recent signing of a joint venture agreement between GRT and India’s Pearls Group to form Pearls GRT.
Pearls Group is the parent company of Pearls Australasia, which bought the Sheraton Mirage resort for $62.5 million in 2009 and undertook a $26 million makeover.
GRT’s technology director Ben Skinner said the deal was a sign of the Gold Coast-based company’s intent to be a world leader in road infrastructure development.
“Our technology provides a cost-effective and time-efficient solution to the development of road infrastructure in both remote and developing nations,” he said.
He said up to 6000sq m of road would be applied a day using GRT’s products, as opposed to traditional methods that take up to a month to lay a kilometre of road.
GRT uses special compounds to build roads that are stronger, safer, cheaper, longer-lasting and quicker to install than conventional roads.
Their technology makes it possible to quickly seal poor roads in countries such as India and China to reduce fatalities.
GRT already has a presence across Asia, India and South America.
The company is working with major companies across the mining, oil and gas and government sector.
Mr Skinner said GRT polymers could be mixed with in-situ materials to create a range of road surfaces across a variety of landscapes.
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