Delays in Highway projects

Why should project schedules not be adhered to unless in exceptional cases , there were unavoidable reasons for that happening, has very rightly been dealt with by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari terming delays as “unacceptable”. Not only were delays adversely impacting the required utility of the projects but were providing room for cost escalation and thus funds meant for other works getting affected. Feeling the need of a paradigm shift in the status quo and ‘touch not’ scenario ruling roost in most of such projects in the past, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has been monitoring various projects through online web portal ‘PRAGATI’ to infuse in the system the required working culture to shirk lethargy and delays. How can, therefore, sensitive and high cost Highway projects be allowed to be subjected to any type of delays in a scenario of building infrastructure with the speed it requires in a country, fast developing like India?
Monitoring aspect of projects being equally important as sanctioning them, the Union Minister has started a web portal ‘GATI’ to ensure that project schedules were adhered to. Separate and focussed monitoring of those projects which slipped into delayed ones is being done at the Union Ministry levels wherein besides those projects with a stake of whooping Rs. 3 lakh crore cost, delayed ones specifically were monitored. One of the measures to sort out and decide the fate of projects held up at inter-ministerial levels has been decided to be resolved by sending the same for intervention of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways .
Monitoring and that too on fast tracking basis and introduced as a policy matter was surely going to bring about the desired results especially when huge investments were involved, must be made an inalienable part of the projects itself. GATI could be helpful in more ways as contractors and concessionaries can raise any project related issues and problems for resolution. This platform,therefore, would cut enough time which otherwise could have been spent on getting clarifications and the issues could come into the notice of all the concerned officials of the Ministry including the top management. Why cannot such an arrangement and innovative steps be taken in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir to streamline and bring about necessary changes in the working culture so that frequent failures in adhering to time schedules could be averted. Bringing about due transparency and speeding up decisions making process in executing of projects was necessary and a web portal on the pattern of the Union Ministry could be started in Jammu and Kashmir whereby contractors, developers and officials could be got connected for resolution of issues and sorting out other problems expeditiously.
It goes without saying that not only in Northern, Southern and Central areas of the country but even in hitherto neglected North Eastern States, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways was taking enough measures to expand its activities and build Highway projects to ensure connectivity and the resultant economic progress. Projects concerning these states needing separate review and monitoring was being ensured under the aegis of the Union Minister and why not as this country needed both speed as well as quality work.


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