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Last Updated : Nov 17, 2017 04:39 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

After Highway developers, Centre to rate Highways & Toll plazas for improved performance

Highways will be graded for safety, ease of driving and maintenance; toll plazas will be graded on the basis of revenue collection and driver’s experience at the plaza; and highway developers will be graded for timeliness and quality of construction

Nikita Vashisht @nikita_vashisht
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In a bid to improve the regulatory framework for infrastructure development, union ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) will soon come up with rating plans for highways, toll plazas, construction agencies and various consultants engaged with the ministry.

“We are constantly trying to improve the regulatory framework… One part of which is to start grading,” a highly placed source from the ministry told Moneycontrol.

Early this month MoRTH appointed Quality Council of India (QCI), an autonomous society set up to ensure quality standard, as its “implementation agency” to review and rate highway developers to pave way for “suitable” infrastructure companies to “engage” with the government.

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As per a national daily, engaging a third party will ensure “unbiased rating” for the developers, which will be “put in public domain for transparency”.

Also read: National highways to be rated on safety parameters

“The ranking will be done primarily taking into account the milestones that developers reach for each work awarded to them. If they miss the targets despite having all the clearances and land availability, then their rankings will be low,” the daily quoted an official.

The source from MoRTH told Moneycontrol that highways will be graded for safety, ease of driving and maintenance; toll plazas will be graded on the basis of revenue collection and driver’s experience at the plaza; and highway developers will be graded for timeliness and quality of construction among other things.

“We are trying to grade highways… toll plazas… consultants… construction agencies… Grading will touch all aspects and not just roads,” he said. QCI will be undertaking the entire rating programme.

While the idea to rate infra developers had been doing the rounds for a long time, it gained momentum after National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) put up a “show-cause” notice, asking 20 construction companies to make representation after they were “prohibited from bidding” for highway projects due to “default of the concessionaire”.

Also read: NHAI holds debarment of 20 infra companies, will seek comments from highways ministry next week

“This rating system was being considered for a long time and we are trying to implement it as soon as possible,” said another source from the ministry.

NHAI had prohibited companies like L&T, Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), Essel Infra Projects and Supreme Infra from bidding for PPP, EPC, tolls and other road ministry projects till 2019 as they had “failed to fulfil the criteria and were unable to execute the projects awarded to them between 2015 and 2017”.

Union minister, Nitin Gadkari, had put the termination “in abeyance till the review process is over” last week and asked NHAI to debar any defaulting company “only after the legal proceedings (against the company) were over”.

NHAI has decided to “seek opinion” of the ministry if, at all, it should “change the policy” dealing with default companies.

“We will probably look into the policy change next week… whether it has to be done or not,” said the source.

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First Published on Nov 17, 2017 04:39 pm
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