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Highway duties may be divested from PWD, Gadkari writes to CM stating same point

Highway duties may be divested from PWD, Gadkari writes to CM stating same point

Imphal, May 11 2017: PWD may be relieved the responsibility of looking after National Highways in case construction work of Mao-Senapati section and Senapati-Koubru Leikha section of the Imphal-Dimapur highway is not started at the earliest.

Significantly Road Transport and Highways Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has written to Chief Minister N Biren to immediately intervene immediately for award of the works failing which the NH-2 will be entrusted to NHIDCL.

According to information received from the PWD, National Highway Division, all National Highway sections which are currently handled by PWD regarding construction and maintenance may be handed over to other agencies in case construction work of Mao-Senapati and Senapati-Koubru Leikha sections is not started soon.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) sent a letter to this effect to the PWD Additional Chief Engineer-I on May 9 .

MoRTH sent the strongly worded letter as the State PWD National Highway Division has been finding minor mistakes in the tender process for construction of the two highway sections, informed the source.

The outcome would not be pleasant if officials of the PWD National Highway Division do not pay due attention to the Ministry’s letter.

On the other hand, the Ministry has been working to ensure that the two highway sections are re-constructed without any further delay.

Necessary fund for construction of the two highway sections which are quite worn out was sanctioned by MoRTH in November last year.

The amount sanctioned by MoRTH for Mao-Senapati section was Rs 230.46 crore and it was Rs 139.87 crore for Senapati-Koubru Leikha section.

In view of the fast deteriorating condition of the highway sections and a PIL field at the High Court of Manipur regarding the pathetic condition of the highway, bidders were invited through Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) even before the amounts required for the highway construction works were sanctioned.

The mode of tender adopted was EPC (Engineering Procurement Construction) which meant contractors need to visit the work sites, design roads and prepare financial estimates.

However, on account of the prolonged economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council, contractors could not visit the work sites and no contractor/firm responded to the NIT.

Subsequently, the tender process was postponed six times.

Later, after the UNC’s economic blockade was lifted, two bidders responded to the NIT for each of the two sections. After technical evaluation of the four bidders by the State level tender evaluation committee, the bids were referred to the screening committee headed by the MoRTH (North East Region) Chairman.

After examination by the screening committee, PWD sent a proposal to MoRTH seeking permission to open financial bids which was duly granted. In spite of MoRTH’s permission to open financial bids, officials of PWD National Highway Division were pointing out minor mistakes related to technical evaluation to the Ministry.

Some areas which are closely examined in tender processes are the contractors’ past experiences, financial resources, earnest money and whether they were blacklisted earlier.

As such the contractors should be asked to clarify/rectify the minor errors, mentioned the Ministry’s letter.

Rather than taking up the highway construction work for which the requisite fund has been sanctioned, the PWD National Highway Division submitted an estimate of Rs 16 crore for highway maintenance.

Notably, construction works of Koubru Leikha to Tendonyang section and Manipur University main gate to Lilong Bridge were cancelled after forged/erroneous bank guarantee documents were submitted and the matter reached the Court.

Notably, Rs 37.4 crore was sanctioned for Koubru Leikha to Tendongyang section and Rs 30.75 crore for Manipur University main gate to Lilong Bridge section.

On the other hand, tender process for construction of Tendongyang to North AOC section of Imphal-Dimapur highway remains incomplete even though the Ministry has already sanctioned the requite amount.

The tender amount for the particular section is around Rs 17.56 crore.

Even as financial bid of around Rs 200 crore has been opened for construction of Kangvai-Yaingangpokpi section of NH 150, and letter of acceptance has been submitted, the same work could not be initiated till date because no agreement has been signed.

Likewise, the agreement for construction of Wabagai to Kakching Lamkhai section of NH 137(A) was not signed on time.

MoRTH is aware of all such delays.

That is why, the Ministry sent a letter to the PWD National Highway Division Additional Chief Engineer informing that National Highway sections currently handled by PWD may be handed over to other agencies, conveyed the source.

Notably, Wahengbam Leikai-Oriental College section of NH 53, Mao-Imphal highway, NH 150 and NH 137(A) are under the care of State PWD.

There are three National Highway Divisions of PWD to take care of these highway sections.

9 per cent deducted from funds sanctioned by MoRTH for maintenance and construction of these highway sections as agency charge is accrued to the State exchequer.

On the other hand, around Rs 30 lakh is expended in paying monthly salaries to Work Charge and Muster Roll employees engaged in National Highway works.

The same amount is paid from amounts sanctioned by MoRTH.

PWD and the State Government have to forgo all these benefits if PWD is relieved the responsibility of looking after NHs.

Source: The Sangai Express



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