Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said national highways construction has seen sharp rise during the COVID-19 pandemic restriction period. The road transport and highways minister further said in 2020-21, the highways construction pace reached 36.5 km/day, the highest-ever construction speed for national highways. In a series of tweets, Gadkari said India also created a world record by constructing a 2.5 km four-lane concrete road in just 24 hours, and 26-km single-lane bitumen road in just 21 hours.
He said special efforts have been made to sustain this speed of construction, which includes support to contractors, relaxation in contract provisions, direct payment to sub-contractors and food and medical facilities to on-site workers. To ensure quality control in these projects, construction is being carried out as per highest Indian Roads Congress (IRC) standards and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) specifications. He also said a quality control zone has been set up to update policy guidelines as well as examine and issue directions for system improvement on quality.
total of 2,284 kilometres of national highways were constructed during the April-June period, an increase of 25.28 per cent compared to the year-ago period, despite the second COVID wave-induced lockdowns in most parts of the country, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
In April-June period of 2020, a total of 1,823 kilometres of national highways were constructed. This was also the time when there was a national lockdown to curb the spreading of coronavirus infections.
National highway construction in April-June 2018 and April-June 2019 stood at 2,155 kilometres and 2,351 kilometres, respectively. All national highways are constructed as per quality standards specified in Ministry of Road Transport and Highways/ Indian Roads Congress (IRC) specifications, Gadkari said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
To ensure that the works are executed as per prescribed specifications and standards, consultants are appointed by the ministry and its agencies for day-to-day supervision of the works at sites. “It is the responsibility of such consultants to ensure compliance of the provisions of the concession or contract agreement in so far as quality of the work is concerned,” he said.
He said that officials of the ministry, National Highways Authority of India and National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd also carries out quality checks of the works executed on a random basis. Deficiencies, if any, observed during such examination/ inspection are brought to the notice of the contractor for corrective measures. Replying to a question, Gadkari said there are 2,112 ongoing national highway projects in the country.
The government had signed a loan agreement with the World Bank to develop Green National Highway Corridor Project (GNHCP). The project includes upgradation of about 781 kilometres of various national highways passing through the states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, Gadkari said.
(With inputs from PTI)