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SoP for substandard highway construction coming, penalties on erring contractors to rise: Aramane

Government may soon come up with standard operating procedure (SoP) for strict adherence to quality standards by contractors, developers and engineers in construction of roads and highways across the country, ministry of road transport and highways secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Wednesday. 

Speaking at a programme on road operation and Girdhar technology organised by Highway Operator’s Association (India), Aramane said quality control has emerged as one of the biggest issues in the road construction as even the biggest of developers having sloppy quality control measures.

“This practise cannot continue to long and in coming months you will see very large number of penalities being imposed on contractors, developers and even engineers who certify sub-standard work, Aramane said adding that highways should be seen as vehicles of economic progress and growth and any compromise on quality would desist people from using such roads affecting the economic activity. 

While highway development has picked up pace in the country, the motorists experience has not been particularly good over the quality and condition of roads. This is due to the below-par conditions and the fact that the roads are filled with potholes and bad surfaces which could then cause accidents.

A policy is already in place whereby National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) can penalise contractors if the quality of road is substandard. There is also a provision of fine ranging between 1-10 crore where the authority can penalise contractors for substandard work and may even black list and ban contractors from bidding on any future road projects for three years.

The policy would now get strength with SoP initiating trigger points for implementation of strict action for sloppy work. The government also intends to use technology and equipment to bring in quality control in road construction. 

Aramane also said that their effort is also to ensure smooth movement of traffic on Indian highways and it here Fastag system would be made more efficient to ensure that maximum wait time for vehicles is not more than 20-30 seconds at any toll point. 

With regard to use of GPS system for toll collection, secretary said that it not happening soon as because legal framework and implementation framework needs to be established first before such a system is implemented. 

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