Flooded with increasing complaints and issues of maintenance of national highways, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has now made it mandatory for contractors and executing agencies to submit evidences of time-stamped and geotagged photos of before-works and after maintenance, for getting payments.
The Ministry has also directed the agencies to assign all sections of NHs to “an accountable maintenance agency”.
In a recent circular addressed to all highway agencies, the Ministry has said it has evolved a fool-proof maintenance mechanism to achieve the goal ‘zero complaint‘ on account of maintenance.
It has said in the case of highways developed under private sector participation, the responsibility lies with the concessionaire for the contract period.
Similarly, stretches developed with 100 per cent government funding or EPC are maintained by the contractors during the defect liability period.
The only grey area is the stretches which are yet to be developed or are in operation and maintenance period. To deal with this, the Ministry has rolled out two types of maintenance contracts — performance-based maintenance contract and short-term maintenance contract.
The Ministry has said that all maintenance contracts have to be in place by the end of November for all sections of NHs, which are not covered either under any sort of ongoing development or maintenance work.
“Contract period (maximum one year) should be kept in such a way that by the end of the existing contract, a new contract should be in place,” it said.
According to the Ministry, the aim is to ensure that at any point of time every NH stretch must have an ongoing contract for maintenance.
“So, as soon as any stretch is notified as an NH, there will be an agency for maintenance of that road. Currently, the Centre pays the state governments for carrying out maintenance of such stretches. But there have been instances of works getting delayed due to issues related to payment. Now that has been streamlined. Payments will be made as soon as there is proof of works are submitted with the bills,” the circular stated.
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