TODAY -

NHIDCL takes over most highways, PWD adversely affected
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 09 2020: With the National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) taking over most National Highways passing through the State, the State PWD has been severely affected.

Notably, NHIDCL was set up on January 1, 2015 as a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) .

Since then, NHIDCL has been tasked with survey, design, maintenance and construction of roads funded by MoRTH.

However, in many other States, NHIDCL does not necessarily take over all the roads funded by MoRTH.

Many roads funded by MoRTH are still under the care of respective PWDs.

As such, it is essential for the State Government to take up necessary measures with a strong political will so that the State PWD retains certain National Highways or some sections otherwise PWD may eventually become defunct.

Sources in PWD (National Highway Division) said that NHIDCL has taken over most of the National Highways passing through the State while PWD has been left with some single-lane dilapidated roads although these roads have been recognised as National Highways.

NHIDCL is poised to take over some of these roads too after sometime.

The total length of National Highways in Manipur is 1723.95 Kms and NHIDCL has taken over 1407.955 Kms while PWD is left with just 310.640 Kms.

Out of the 13 National Highway projects announced by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on August 17 which would be implemented in the State at the cost of Rs 3000 crore, the State PWD's share is a meagre Rs 179 crore while the rest (Rs 2821 crore) would be handled by NHIDCL, said the sources.

At one point of time, PWD was one of the few departments which earned substantial amount of revenue as it was in charge of many roads and bridges which were funded by MoRTH.

For any project funded by MoRTH, PWD gets 9 per cent as agency charge provided the department is selected as the implementing agency of the project.

The agency charges thus earned were used in paying salaries to Work Charge and Muster Roll employees apart from accruing revenue to the State exchequer, said the sources.

Had the recent package of Rs 3000 crore been given to PWD, the department could have earned around Rs 200 crore as agency charge.

Given the limited resources of the State, the State Government needs to work with a political will and ensure that projects funded by MoRTH are handled by PWD, said sources.

At the same time, it is also crucial to see that there is no lapse in implementing any project funded by MoRTH right from the tender process, the sources added.


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