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Delays dog highway projects

In 11 States, according to the data, more than 30 per cent of ongoing projects have been delayed. Photo: Harpal Singh

In 11 States, according to the data, more than 30 per cent of ongoing projects have been delayed. Photo: Harpal Singh  

Truancy by contractors the main reason

Highway projects continue to be plagued by delays with many States reporting an increase in the number of delayed projects between February and April 30 this year.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in the Lok Sabha during the previous and ongoing sessions, in Bihar, for example, the number of delayed projects rose from 12 to 26. In Himachal Pradesh, the number of delayed projects rose from 12 to 19. Gujarat, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh are the only States that have seen a decrease in the number of delayed projects.

In 11 States, according to the data, more than 30 per cent of ongoing projects have been delayed. For example, while none of Maharashtra’s highway projects were delayed as of February, all of them were reported delayed in April. The incidence of delays seems to have become more widespread between February and April, with the number of States with delayed projects increasing from 11 to 23.

BRO the lone exception

In sharp contrast, the Border Roads Organisation has reduced the number of delayed projects implemented by it from 13 to 0 over the same time period.

Low productivity in highway construction is further made clear by the fact that only 15 out of 33 States and Union Territories saw an increase in the length of highways constructed in 2014-15 over the previous year.

Delays in highway projects have been a long-standing problem, with Ministry data from the previous session of Parliament showing that a total of 125 projects relating to the Golden Quadrilateral project are delayed. Of these, 32 have been delayed by more than five years.

Delays can be for various reasons including weather, violence and, often, truancy by contractors. Bihar initiated action against nine contractors found guilty of delaying construction, while Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh initiated action against four contractors each. Other States have taken fewer contractors to task.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 7:57:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delay-in-highway-projects-in-states/article7457292.ece

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