Govt Releases Over Rs 10,000 Crore To Road Developers To Expedite Work On Ongoing Highway Projects

Govt Releases Over Rs 10,000 Crore To Road Developers To Expedite Work On Ongoing Highway ProjectsUnion Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari. (PTI)

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) announced on Wednesday (9 September) that it has released over Rs 10,000 crore as payments to contractors over the last couple of months.

The ministry also added that another trance of Rs 2,475 crore in the process of being disbursed.

“A sum of Rs 10,339 crore has been released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) during the COVID-19 period under the simplified payment process as envisaged in the ambitious Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry has initiated various measure to support liquidity to contractors and concessionaires so that the ambitious road infrastructure targets do not suffer

As part of the relief package announced by the ministry for its contractors and concessionaires, retention money (which is a part of the Performance Security till construction period) is being released in proportion to the work already executed in accordance with the Contract specification

For HAM (Hybrid-Annuity Mode) and BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) contracts, performance guarantee is released on a pro-rata basis.

Out of total 1,253 applications under 1,155 projects for this relief, Rs 3,527 crore has been released, while over Rs 189 crore is under process, the ministry said.

“Relaxation is given…to provide monthly payment to the Contractor for the work done and accepted as per the specification of the contract during the month EPC/HAM Contract. Out of total 863 applications under 774 projects for this relief, Rs 6,526 crore has been released, while over Rs 2,241 crore is under process,” the MoRTH statement said.

Direct payment is being made to approved sub-contractor through an escrow account, it said, adding out of total 21 applications under 19 projects for this relief, Rs 241 crore has been released, while over Rs 27 crore is under process.

Besides, the extension has been allowed to consultants depending on site condition, it said.

“During this Force Majeure Event, they may be considered as if they were on duty. Out of total 31 applications under equal number of projects for this relief, Rs two crore has been released, while Rs one crore is under process,” the statement said.

It also said the concession period of BOT contracts is being extended.

For loss in collection of the user fee, the concession period is extended in accordance with the contract till the time daily collection is below 90 per cent of the average daily fee, the ministry noted.

For all National Highway Tolling Contracts, loss in collection of fee (remittances) is compensated in accordance with the contract, it added.

The Ministry has also undertaken settling of contractors’ issues, including dues, through arbitration. Conciliation committees have been formed consisting of independent experts (CCIEs) for this purpose. All contractors are being called for conciliation for expeditious settlement of their claims and get their payments released immediately, the ministry said. 47 cases involving claims of Rs 14,248 Crore have been settled during this year. Discussions are underway on another 59 cases.