CHENNAI: A month after a highways official was nabbed for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 27 lakh to clear bills for a contractor, the Centre has directed National Highways Authority of India and other agencies to take videos of newly laid roads before issuing completion certificates.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH), in an order issued a few days ago, has directed engineers to take additional measures to ensure completion of roads as per the standards specified by it.
The order says NHAI engineers were issuing completion certificates without checking all works, particularly the ancillary items, such as shoulders, road signs, markings, and dressing of slopes.
“A video of completed work on the date of completion should invariably be prepared and furnished as authentic documentary evidence within 15 days of completion,” the order said.
In its order, the Union Ministry has made it clear why it has called for video recording of newly laid roads. Sources say that in many places, NHAI engineers have issued completion certificate to contractors even before full works are over, to help them save a few crores, which is why the ministry has called for ‘documentary evidence’ in the form of videos.
Without a video being submitted within 15 days of work completion, certificates cannot be issued as per the new directions. Early issuance of the certificate also leads to other financial implications. As per the provisions of the contract agreement, NHAI has to pay a bonus amount to the contractor if works are completed earlier than the schedule.
The NHAI is executing road works to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore across India. In Tamil Nadu, major works lined up include four laning of Melur - Karaikudi, Mahabalipuram - Puducherry, Villupuram - Nagapatinam and many other stretches.
The order has also been sent to National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and State public works departments.