Improve quality of DPRs

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has expressed his concerns about the inadequate quality of detailed project reports (DPRs) prepared by Indian companies. He highlighted that substandard DPRs lead to project delays and road accidents. His suggestion that international companies should be given preference as Indian companies often fail to deliver satisfactory reports is very important. Currently, there are 144 tunnel projects spanning a length of 357 km across national highways, with a total cost of Rs 2 lakh crore. Additionally, 54 tunnel projects are in the Detailed Project Report stage. Recognising the immense potential for tunnelling in India, the Minister emphasised the need for a transparent, time-bound, result-oriented, and corruption-free system to ensure that the country’s tunnel projects meet global standards.
The road projects undertaken by the Government have been one of its significant achievements. The Government has prioritised the development and expansion of the road infrastructure across the country, aiming to enhance connectivity, promote economic growth, and improve transportation efficiency. Several ambitious initiatives have been launched, such as the Bharatmala Pariyojana, which aims to construct and upgrade highways and roads in a planned and strategic manner. This project envisions the development of thousands of kilometres of highways, including the construction of new motorways, economic corridors, and border roads.
Tunnels play a crucial role in Indian road projects, particularly in challenging terrain and congested areas. Tunnels enable the creation of direct and efficient transport links through difficult terrains such as mountains, hills, and rivers. Tunnels provide a safer and more secure passage, especially in areas prone to natural hazards such as landslides, avalanches, or harsh weather conditions. The most important advantage is that tunnels minimise the environmental impact of road projects by preserving natural landscapes and habitats. They ensure the efficient movement of military personnel, equipment, and supplies, strengthening national security and border management.
The Government has taken several measures to combat corruption in road projects and ensure transparency and accountability in the sector. The adoption of e-tendering and online bidding processes has significantly reduced human intervention and minimised the scope for corruption. It enables a transparent and fair system for awarding contracts, eliminating the potential for favouritism or bribery. The use of technology, such as GPS tracking, satellite imagery, and digital surveying, has been mandated in road projects. This helps in monitoring and tracking project progress, ensuring the quality of construction, and preventing irregularities or deviations from approved plans. Independent agencies and authorities have been established to monitor and evaluate road projects. The digitization of processes, including land acquisition, payment systems, and project management, has reduced the human interface and minimised the scope for corruption. Automation ensures transparency, efficiency, and accountability in the execution of road projects.
However, there is always scope for improvement. Thorough planning and robust design are crucial for successful road and tunnel projects. Ensuring comprehensive feasibility studies, accurate traffic projections, and effective geotechnical investigations can minimise project delays, cost overruns, and design flaws. Streamlining decision-making processes at various stages of project execution is essential to avoid delays. Efficient and prompt decision-making in areas such as land acquisition, environmental clearances, and approvals can help accelerate project timelines. Maintaining strict quality control standards throughout the construction process is essential for long-lasting infrastructure. Regular inspections, adherence to specifications, and the use of modern construction techniques and materials can enhance the durability and safety of road and tunnel projects. Robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are necessary to track project progress, identify bottlenecks, and ensure adherence to timelines. Regular inspections, independent audits, and real-time monitoring technologies can help identify and address issues promptly. The time has come to remove all bottlenecks and give further impetus to road projects.