New Delhi, Sept 30: Aiming at speeding up construction of highway projects and resolving issues without delay, the National Highways Authority of India has agreed to most of the suggestions made by the industry body, to further improve the ease of doing business in road sector.
According to NHAI, Consulting Engineers Association of India (CEAI) had submitted suggestions pertaining to areas that include Omnibus Bank Guarantee, Performance Parameters of Consultants, Approval of DPR, Value Engineering, Technical Capacity Provisions and Evaluation of Bids among others.
After having detailed deliberation with the industry body, NHAI agreed with most of the suggestions made by them. Suggestions which were outside the purview of NHAI have been sent to the related authorities for consideration.
Further, NHAI assured the body that all good suggestions facilitating smooth working with the Consultants shall be positively considered in the future as well.
Suggestions regarding Omnibus Bank Guarantee system has been accepted by NHAI and guidelines have been issued on the matter.
Suggestions regarding use of innovative technology / material has been accepted. NHAI has asked the Consultants to propose new technologies while preparing DPRs and wasteful expenditure items should be avoided.
NHAI also assured that the approval process of various stages of DPR shall be expedited and has reiterated its commitment to ensure timely payments to the Consultants.
Under Technical Capacity Provisions, cap on the number of projects awarded to a Consultant will be linked to the Consultant’s performance and its rating on the Vendor Performance Evaluation System.
NHAI has further reported that it is committed to improve ease of doing business and facilitate better working relationship with all its stakeholders.
Earlier, the NHAI has agreed to the suggestions made by the highways builders body NHBF pertaining to nine areas that included COVID-19 relief, bidding process, contract management, EPC (engineering, procurement and construction), HAM (hybrid annuity mode) and BOT (build, operate and transfer) agreements and project preparations.
NHAI has also agreed for extension of time to contractor/ concessionaire for construction period without imposition of any cost or penalty by the project director up to 3 months and regional officer for more than three months and up to six months in view of COVID-19.
It has also assured timely payments to vendors.
The NHAI in the past has also taken various initiatives from time to time to support concessionaires.