Tamilnadu Road Projects in Trouble

13 NHAI projects in TN hit roadblock

C ShivakumarFirst Published : 19 Mar 2010 04:20:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 19 Mar 2010 08:28:22 AM IST
CHENNAI: Over 1,300 km of road development projects in Tamil Nadu, which have to be executed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), are yet to materialise because of lack of bidders, stringent land acquisition norms and shortage of skilled engineers, according to sources.
“Through out India, many NHAI projects have been hit due to recession. In Tamil Nadu alone, over 13 projects have been stalled due to the non-availability of bidders,” NHAI sources told Express.
“Most of the bids we received were single ones. The ministry is seeking foreign investment in these projects,” the sources said.
As recession shooed away many bidders, development of roads suffered. Although Road and Transport Minister Kamal Nath had made tall claims of building 20 km of roads each day, authorities have been barely able to manage 10 km per day, the source added.
The government’s new norms on land acquisition have also affected the road development. “The new regulation stipulates that the NHAI can go ahead with the bidding only after 80 per cent of the land is acquired. The Surface Transport Ministry is approaching the government to relax rules in this regard,” NHAI sources said.
Besides, the NHAI is also facing shortage of skilled workforce. “We require two lakh qualified civil engineers to complete roads and bridges,” says another source.
On the quality of roads, an NHAI source claimed they were good. He added that the expenditure on constructing the roads had gone up from Rs 6 crore to Rs 10 crore per km. “These roads will not require maintenance for five years,” he added.
The Tambaram-Tindivanam Highway had been leased to the GMR Group and the NHAI was paying Rs 41.8 crore every six months to it for maintenance under its annuity scheme, he added.

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