Over 6000km roads approved for Arunachal

December 13, 2013

TNN |  


ITANAGAR: The Union ministry of road transport and highways has approved the construction of 6,418 km of road under Phase A and the Arunachal package of the Special Accelerated Road Development Project-North East (SARDP-NE), minister of state for road transport and highways, Sarvey Sathyanarayana has said.”Of the 10,141 km stretch to be developed under the project, 6,418 km have been approved by the Centre for implementation under Phase A of SARDP-NE and the Arunachal package of roads and highways, while a detailed project report has been sought for the remaining 3,723 km under Phase B of the programme,” the minister explained when questioned by Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjoy, official sources said on Wednesday.

The minister informed that Phase A and the Arunachal package should be completed by March 2017. While conceding that delays in land acquisition, obtaining environment and forest clearance and poor mobilization by contractors have affected timely completion of infrastructure projects in the northeast, the minister assured that non-performing contractors have been debarred from participating in future works.

“The ministry has posted one additional director general for the northeast region at Guwahati, who will be assisted by three chief engineers posted at Guwahati, Agartala and Itanagar, to expedite the formalities before construction,” he added.

Rs 3,619 crore budget to fund projects

December 11, 2013



LUCKNOW: The Samajwadi Party government on Tuesday tabled the current year’s second supplementary budget worth Rs 3,619.76 crore to mainly fund its infrastructure projects like Lucknow Metro, Agra-Lucknow Expressway and rural electrification. Earlier, in September, the Akhilesh-led state government had tabled the first supplementary budget worth Rs 7,112.39 crore.The second supplementary budget has allocated Rs 450 core for Lucknow-Agra Expressway and Rs 900 crore for Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Project.

Earlier, the government had planned to get the expressway constructed on the PPP model. However, after failing to get the expected response, it has decided to get it constructed through on its own. Besides, there is an allocation of Rs 20 crore for the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation.

The budget has also earmarked Rs 90 crore for reimbursing the amount taken from emergency fund for rehabilitation of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli riot victims and Rs 126 crore as society commission to Cooperative Sugarcane Committees for the crushing season of 2013-14. Earlier, this commission was paid by the mill owners, but as per a recent agreement the government has agreed to pay it.

The supplementary demands also include Rs 200 crore for CC road, KC drain and interlocking tiles under Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya Samagra Gram Vikas scheme and Rs 13 crore to rehabilitate those displaced from Chak Gajaria farm. In same way, a provision of Rs 5 crore has been made to reestablish units in Lucknow city from Chak Gajaria farm and another Rs 11 crore earmarked for shifting of artificial insemination centre at Chak Gajaria farm to State Agricultural Management Institute, Rahman Kheda.

The government has also allocated Rs 8.11 crore to clear the pending dues with regards to Kumbh Mela, 2013 held at Allahabad and Rs 218 crore has been earmarked for State Disaster Response Fund. The government has also allocated Rs 100 crore for farmers insurance claim covered in the current fiscal and Rs 100 crore for the repair and maintenance of state, district and important roads and Rs 50 crore for state highways and Rs 400 crore for roads construction, upgradation and widening through state road fund. Interestingly, Rs 2.5 crore had been earmarked for maintenance and fuelling of vehicles of cabinet and minister of states while Rs 1.5 crore has been allocated for the renovation and upkeep of the official houses of the legislators.


NHAI set to award over 1,600 km road projects under EPC route

December 10, 2013

Mihir : New Delhi,

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to award road projects of over 1,600 km under the Engineering, Procurement and Contract (EPC) route in the next few months, an indication that momentum is picking up in the sector that has been under pressure in recent times.This is part of the 2,500 km of projects earmarked by the authority for awards this year.

“We have already received bids for five projects covering 502 km and the response is good. The number of bids these projects have received range from as low as 4 to 12. We are satisfied with the response under the EPC,” said a senior NHAI official.

In addition, the NHAI has also called bids for another 225 km and are preparing bids for projects covering 800 km.

The official added that these projects will act as a booster for the slowdown-hit infrastructure companies, who are not showing interest in projects under public-private partnership (PPP).

NHAI had to shift its focus from awarding under EPC after projects offered under PPP mode failed to attract takers. The authority did not find any takers for 20 “viable” projects put up for bids during the current fiscal.

Projects under EPC are virtually risk-free for the contractor, as the government funds the construction. Under this mechanism, the contractor has to quote the cost of constructing or upgrading the road section, and if the bid is accepted, the government funds the project.

The official added that the authority has enough cash to fund these projects under EPC during the current fiscal.

“Money is not an issue during the current fiscal, as these projects would require only 15 per cent of the total project cost during the year. Also, we do not have to acquire a large amount of land because these projects are to be built on the existing alignment and land required will already be in place,” said the official.

With the award of 2,500 km under EPC, NHAI would be able to able to improve its award tally for the current fiscal.

The authority managed to award only 800 km of projects in 2012-13.

During the current fiscal, NHAI has awarded projects covering 859 km so far – a substantial portion under EPC. The road transport ministry has awarded projects covering 463 km.



BIDS RECEIVED for 5 projects covering 502 km

THE average number of bids received range from 4 to 12

BIDS are being called for projects covering 225 km, and preparations are underway for an additional 800 km

The award target for projects under EPC is 2,500 km

859 km of road projects have been awarded in this fiscal



Uttarakhand CM unhappy with BRO

December 9, 2013

D S Kunwar, TNN


DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna on Saturday expressed dissatisfaction over Border Road Organization’s (BRO) inability to complete reconstruction and repair work on the Uttarkashi-Gangotri, Uttarkashi-Yamnotri and Gaurikund-Kedarnath highways within the timeframe it was given.

“I am completely unhappy over the way BRO has been doing its job,” he said. This comes nearly six months after flash floods hit the state causing extensive damage to crucial highways in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts.

 Bahuguna said he will call on Union minister for road transport and highways Oscar Fernandez to request him to handover reconstruction and repair work to the state government from the BRO to speed it up.

“I am sure the central government will consider our request keeping in view difficulties being faced by victims living in disaster struck areas in these districts for want of timely reconstruction of these roads,” additional chief secretary Rakesh Sharma said.

Bahuguna said as most of those who were rendered homeless by the disaster have declined to accept the state government’s offer to give them pre-fabricated houses.

Uttarakhand government will pay Rs 7 lakh as compensation to each family for to build their houses at earmarked ecologically safe areas. A senior IAS officer said most preferred to accept the compensation offer instead of pre-fabricated houses.

Bahuguna said the government has been paying Rs 3000 as monthly rent to each family till their houses are reconstructed. “I think this monthly rent for each affected family will considerably help them,” he said.



Integrated underpass project may end up as Rs. 100 cr. mess

December 7, 2013


Residents expect traffic to increase and choke at the Madiwala underpass if the integrated underpass comes up. File Photo: K. Murali Kumar
Residents expect traffic to increase and choke at the Madiwala underpass if the integrated underpass comes up. File Photo: K. Murali Kumar


Koramangala residents wondering why expert opinion about pitfalls is being ignored

The decision of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to go ahead with its Rs. 100 crore integrated underpass project to ensure a signal-free corridor covering four junctions on Hosur Road has incensed Koramangala residents.

The busy corridor connects industrial areas in Jigani, Anekal, Bommasandra and Electronics City. A large number of inter-State buses heading to destinations in Tamil Nadu and Kerala ply on this road, which is an extension of National Highway 7.

Waiting for nodThe civic body has completed the tender process and is preparing to seek the State government’s approval. But residents complain that the project is being executed without consulting the public or taking into account the opinion of experts. They fear untold misery to residents as well as road users in future. They point to the findings of the Kaushik Mukherjee-led committee.

The proposed integrated underpass project will connect Adugodi, Koramangala 20 Main, T. Marigowda and Sarjapura junctions. Residents claim the project is “myopic” and could aggravate the traffic chaos. They point out that planners are not taking into account the Kaushik Mukherjee-led committee’s recommendations.

If the integrated underpass comes up, residents expect traffic to increase and choke at the Madiwala underpass.

“The current Chief Secretary Mr. Mukherjee (then Additional Chief Secretary) had suggested increasing the height of the Madiwala underpass and widening the service road to improve traffic movement. However, the tender does not consider these suggestions,” Nitin Seshadri, member of Koramangala Infrastructure Task Force (KITF), told The Hindu.

Secondly, residents fear that the integrated underpass will make it difficult for ambulances to access St. John’s Hospital. Also, there are several big, commercial establishments on the slip (service) road. The thousands of people who throng these every day could choke the integrated underpass and slip road, they fear.

As an alternative to the underpass, KITF submitted the design for a flyover, prepared by an independent consultant.

The flyover is meant to connect Adugodi junction to Silk Board junction and will include multiple entry and exit ramps.

A senior BBMP official said that the concept is good, but not cost-effective. “Normally, the cost of a flyover is five times that of an underpass.”

No proper approvalA senior BBMP official said that the civic body’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) had approved designs for 50 underpasses in 2009-2010, but The Hindu learnt that separate approval for the integrated underpass was not sought before the tendering process.

An official said that underpasses for 50 junctions were cleared by the TAC as part of 11 signal-free corridor projects.

Later, the four underpasses on Hosur Road were clubbed together and tenders invited, the official added.

Allaying fears of residents, the official said that the integrated underpass will be wide enough to handle the quantum of traffic seen on Hosur Road and is designed to handle water flow even during heavy rains. “The tender process is over and evaluation has been completed. We are in the process of sending the file to the State government for approval,” the official said.

The official said that civic officials would send the Mukherjee Committee’s report along with the file and let the government decide the future course of action



Sonia gives 50 road projects to Rae Bareli

December 3, 2013

LUCKNOW: Exactly a week after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi inaugurated key railway projects in Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, the party president added more than 50 road projects, bank branches, one FM station and a rail project between Rae Bareli and Akbarpur, to the district’s already burgeoning gifts kitty.

Gandhi, who landed at Fursatganj airport on Monday morning, laid the foundation stone for more than 50 road projects under the Centrally-funded Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana as part of the UPA-II’s rural road connectivity endeavour. Sonia also inaugurated a water treatment plant supplying potable water to 110 villages, FM Rainbow, available at a frequency of 102.8 mhz, to inform and entertain people, and 13 new branches of United Bank of India in Harchandpur block.

Though the bounty, worth several crores also includes the Rae Bareli-Maharajganj-Akbarganj railway line, connecting Rae Bareli to Faizabad through the shortest railway route, the Congress did not seem to have deemed it fit to invite Faizabad MP and UPCC chief Nirmal Khatri.

During the day-long visit, Gandhi did not address a public meeting; she did, however, interact with people of the constituency at some places. A day before her arrival, farmers blocked the Lalganj-Unnao railway track and demanded jobs for their family members at the Rail Coach factory in Lalganj, as promised by Sonia during her earlier visits. The jobs, were to be in exchange of land for the factory, dubbed as Sonia’s dream project.

The farmers claimed that of about 1,340 families, who gave their land for the project, no job has been given to 128 families. Similar protests have been staged before Sonia’s previous visits to the constituency too. Back then, officials of the railway ministry and representatives from Sonia’s office met and took their applications. No discussions in this regard, though, were held on Monday.

Tunnel road project has gained momentum: Oscar

December 2, 2013


MANGALORE: The much vaunted tunnel roadway through Shirady Ghat connecting the coastal city with Bangalore has gained momentum, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highway Oscar Fernandes said on Saturday.The six-day visit of Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to India that got under way on November 30 and the scheduled state visit of Prime Minister of Japan in January for the Republic Day celebrations will further boost this project, Oscar said.In an informal chat with reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural of the 27th statutory conference of All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organization on Saturday, Oscar said the Indo-Japanese summit coinciding with the Japanese Emperor’s visit will give fillip to this project.

Indicating that the tunnel project through Shirady Ghat will be executed with assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency, Oscar said the state chief secretary and the PWD minister called on him in New Delhi recently and held extensive discussions in this regard. “We, at the ministry, have mooted the idea that a separate corporation be set up to execute the project,” Oscar said, adding that a final shape to it could be expected soon.

The idea of road tunnel through Shirady Ghat straddling the ecologically sensitive Western Ghat was first mooted at Global Investors Meet held under the stewardship of then CM D V Sadananda Gowda. The project was mooted as the current state of the National Highway through Shirady Ghat measuring nearly 40-km is in an unmotorable situation and breakdown on heavy vehicles on the treacherous hairpin curves lead to traffic jams.

More funds for state

With regard to unanimous demand made in the ongoing session of the state assembly in Belgaum that Karnataka needs to cash in on his presence in the ministry and obtain maximum funds for road development for the state, Oscar said, “I have placed myself at the disposal of the CM.”

“I am doing for Karnataka more than already mentioned. But this does not mean I will do something less for the other states,” he said.

Admitting that he has special feelings for the state as he hails from Karnataka, Oscar said, “We have allocated Rs 1,000 crore to Karnataka under Central Road Fund and the same will be reimbursed based on its utilization.”

He said various road schemes under CRF in Karnataka are in different stages of completion. These include Tumkur road that will be inaugurated by end of December, Hassan-Bangalore road shortly, and Kolar road in a week’s time.

Centre to approve more rural roads by FY15

December 2, 2013

Jaideep Deogharia, TNN

RANCHI: The central team of rural development department expressed satisfaction with Jharkhand over the performance of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) during the regional review meeting of east zone that started here on Friday. The team has agreed to sanction another 3000 km rural roads under the central scheme in the next financial year.

Officials from the rural development and rural works department of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha were here to give a presentation about the status of implementation of the scheme in their respective states. The meeting was chaired by secretary, Union rural development department, L C Goyal, who is also the vice president of National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA).

S K Sathpathy, principal secretary, state rural works department, gave a detailed account of the achievements of Jharkhand in the current financial year. He said that a target of 2000 km rural road at an estimated cost of Rs 850 crores was fixed for the state. “We have spent around Rs 800 crore and are about to complete the target of connecting 1000 inhabitations under the scheme,” he said, expressing happiness that in the next financial year the state would be benefited by receiving the sanction t build yet another 1000 km rural roads.

Members in the team who went on a field visit to Saranda in West Singhbhum and remote villages of Ranchi, expressed satisfaction over the quality of roads being built under the scheme. Issues like preferring local contractors for execution of construction work in remote villages where the rebel groups are active were also taken up.



India invited to join UN’s World Amber Road project

December 2, 2013

Kounteya Sinha,TNN



VILNIUS (Lithuania): India, home to rich amber deposits that date back 50 million years, has been invited to join the World Amber Road, an exhaustive global project being spearheaded by the UN to develop tourism routes that run through areas rich in amber-commonly called natural gold.In a letter of invitation to India sent this month (a copy of which is available with TOI), the secretary general of the World Tourism Organization of the UN ( UNWTO) Taleb Rifai and the director general of Lithuania’s state tourism department Raimonda Balniene has invited India to share its rich knowledge of amber deposits in Gujarat and help develop the virtual Amber Road.

The initial part of the Amber Road project, the Lithuanian Amber Road, will be unveiled to the world on December 19 at Vilnius during the second world amber conference.

The idea to create the World Amber Road on the lines of the Silk Route, to map age old international trading points of amber, was first floated by Lithuania in June 2012.

Amber is a fossilized resin that takes millions of years to form and turn into stone. It is created through a defence mechanism of certain kinds of trees. When the bark is punctured, a sticky resin oozes out to seal the damage. It is usually yellow or orange in colour and transparent. Once the resin is expelled, it hardens and drops, eventually getting buried.

Over the next few thousand years, this resin gets fossilised and turns to stone. Several countries which are home to amber deposits—Russia, Poland, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine and Austria—have joined the project.

Hungary, Georgia, Jordan, Mexico and Dominican Republic, home to the rarest blue amber, are expected to join the project during the Dec 19 conference.

Highway developers set to get relief

November 29, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash,TNN


NEW DELHI: Many highway developers, including GMR and GVK, are set to get major relief in next one week as the PM-appointed C Rangarajan committee is likely to recommend reduction and deferment of premium to be paid to NHAI.

The panel is likely to suggest that for six-laning of highway projects, at least 25% reduction in annual premium payment to NHAI during construction period and about 50% during subsequent years. The panel was constituted to come out with a formula to defer the premium payment towards later part of the concession period to make projects viable for developers.

In case of four-laning of projects, the developers don’t have to pay premium during the construction period. During operation and maintenance period, they have to pay minimum 50% of the committed annual premium.

Premium is the annual upfront revenue that the developers have promised to pay to NHAI, while bagging the projects. The promised premium of around Rs 1 lakh crore will come to NHAI in the next 20-30 years, according to the road ministry. While the developers will pay lower amount in the initial years, they have to pay higher amount in the later part of the period to fulfill the commitment.

For both six-laning and four-laning of highway projects, during operation and maintenance period, annual cash flow surplus subsequent to fulfilling debt servicing and other obligations, will have to be used mostly towards premium payment. The objective is to ensure that NHAI gets the entire premium at least three years before the contract period ends, said a source.

Developers were complaining about difficulties in premium payment due to slowdown in traffic amid a weak economy. Many projects, which were awarded could not take off, while many on-going projects were getting stuck. The committee felt that a reduction and deferment of premium payment in the initial period and increasing the amount in the later, when both traffic growth and collection of toll are expected to go up, will help the developers.


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