MoRTH aims to make national highways potholes free by December: Union Minister

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari was responding to the questions during a press briefing in the national capital.

Published: 28th September 2023 08:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th September 2023 08:23 PM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes | Vinod Kumar T

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has fixed an ambitious target of making its entire network of national highways potholes-free by the end of December. To achieve the goal-- ensuring quality maintenance and timely repair of roads, the ministry is likely to introduce new arrangements for awarding contracts for their regular upkeep. 

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that the ministry is on the verge of finalizing a policy to hand over small stretches to independent civil engineers for regular monitoring and keep national highways well-maintained and release of remuneration would be connected to their performance.   

“As PWD minister, I launched a scheme under which the civil engineers holding diplomas or degrees were given the task (road maintenance) of Rs 15 lakh based on estimated cost without tenders. The scheme was successful. On similar lines, we are working on a proposal for national highways. 100 kilometers of road length will be given to civil engineers. In case, a pothole is seen, they will get less remuneration,” said Gadkari.

Gadkari was responding to the questions during a press briefing in the national capital.

Simultaneously, the ministry is set to initiate a safety audit of roads-- under the jurisdiction of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)-- for which it will rope in students of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and engineering colleges. Once findings are available, it will begin corrective measures to make commuting on highways safer.  

The secretary, MoRTH Anurag Jain further explained that all roads are being mapped and the ministry is working on arrangements that all roads should be under some maintenance contracts.

“Almost all contracts are about to come into force. The minister had a meeting on September 04 on this. Discussions were held with all regional officers. The Internal target is fixed. By December, there should be no pothole on any of the national highways,” he said.

According to the secretary, the ministry has created two kinds of contracts; performance-based maintenance contracts and short-term maintenance contracts.

“Out of a total network of 1.40 lakh kilometers, one lakh kilometers are well-maintained under some contracts. For the remaining length, there was no maintenance contract so two arrangements have been made....if the defect liability period of the road built in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) mode has ended and we don’t need to touch the road for another 10-15 years, we have opted for performance-based contracts. We need to have five-year contracts. If the road needs to be repaired in the next one or two years then we have chosen short-term contracts. Both schemes are in the final stage and we will launch them soon,” said Jain. 

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