CHENNAI: Pulling up the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) over poor maintenance of national highways and inadequate safety measures, the Centre has fixed a deadline of 24 to 48 hours for repairing potholes from the time of detection. It has also granted seven days for erecting crash barriers on roads maintained by the authority, wherever required.
The directive comes after meetings Central officials had with a Supreme Court-appointed committee on road safety. The panel had pointed out that recommendations of road safety council were not adhered to by various agencies, including NHAI and State governments.
The Centre stressed that national highways should be maintained properly. “In case of potholes, efforts need to be made for their repair within 24-48 hours after detection,” said an order dated September 23 of the Director-General of Road Development, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to NHAI and States.
NHAI is to identify sensitive spots and stretches and conduct study for requirement of crash barriers on national highways. In case of damage, replacement and repair should be done in seven days of detection, the order said.
Complain by phone or mobile app Motorists can lodge complaints over pothole-ridden national highways at toll gates, by phone at 1033 (toll free) or Sukhad Yatra mobile application.
The Centre ordered NHAI to expedite works to eliminate ‘black spots’ on NH and empowered regional officers to sanction technical approval for projects up to Rs 50 crore. The order came as the recently amended Motor Vehicles Act prescribed Rs 1 lakh penalty for road contractors for failing to maintain road design and standards during and after construction.
Among NH roads in Tamil Nadu, the Koyambedu - Walajah stretch of the Chennai - Bengaluru NH and Tambaram -Vikravandi NH are in bad shape with craters. During rain, water-logged and damaged roads endanger lives of thousands of motorists.
NHAI officials said as per concessionaire agreement, the contractor company could be penalised with hefty penalties for failing to fulfil requirements of NH road standards. “We have issued stern warnings to contractors over battered condition of roads,” an official said.
Transport officials said the share of national highways in the State was 10 per cent of total length of roads. However, over 35 per cent of accidents occurred on NHs. Nearly 100 black spots were identified on NHs last year.