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The upgraded inter-State highway constructed on the national highway standard connecting Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, near Sedam town in Gulbarga district of Karnataka

CHENNAI, OCT 15: Road projects with less traffic density, which are unviable on toll mode, may be executed through engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.

According to a high-power committee headed by HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, this will help speed up road construction projects in the country.

The conventional item rate contracts are prone to high cost and time overruns. The Planning Commission has formulated a model EPC contract that minimises time and cost overruns, the interim report of the High Level Committee on Financing Infrastructure of the Planning Commission.

This committee has members representing the Government, banking, insurance and infrastructure sectors.

EPC contracts for 5,000 km may be awarded during this fiscal , the panel has recommended.

Projects awarded by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have fallen short of targets during the past several years due to delays in the bid process.

The award of such projects also tends to be bunched up during the last two months of the financial year.

The NHAI should draw up a month-wise plan to award 10,000 km in 2012-13.

The programme should be placed in the public domain and progress should be updated each month, the committee said.

IMPLEMENTATION DELAYSMajor constraints affecting the road development programme include implementation delays and lack of capacity within NHAI to re-orient itself from conventional contracts to the public-private-partnership discipline.

The committee recommended that institutional restructuring of NHAI should be completed within a specified time-frame, as already approved by the Cabinet.

The total investment for the road sector is projected at Rs 9.20 lakh crore during the Twelfth Plan, of which the Central and States’ share would be Rs 3.58 lakh crore and Rs 2.66 lakh crore, respectively, accounting for about 68 per cent of the total investment.

The private sector is projected to account for 32 per cent or Rs 2.94 lakh crore of the total investment, the report said.

During the Eleventh Plan, against a target of 1,000 km of expressways, no progress could be made.

The expressway programme may be rolled out expeditiously and the long-awaited Expressway Authority of India may be constituted to provide an impetus to the Expressway programme, the Parekh-led panel recommended .

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    Basavaraj Harsur


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