The Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari has said that the quality of road engineering in the country needs to improve drastically and should be aligned to international standards. He was speaking at the Inception Day celebrations of National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) in New Delhi .
Citing the high number of road accidents in India and the resultant fatalities, Shri Gadkari said that preparation of very high quality of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) is the very first stage in ensuring road safety. He said that DPRs should incorporate the latest technology, safety features like crash barriers in hilly terrain, intelligent traffic plans, proper signages etc, and should also rectify identified black spots. In addition to being perfect from the engineering perspective, the Minister said that DPR making should be time bound. Decision making at every level should be quick and transparent. He called for audit of decision making process and said unnecessary delays will not be tolerated.
NHIDCL had organized a conference on Appropriate Technologies for Soil and Slope Stabilization and Road Construction in High Rainfall Areas earlier during the day. NHIDCL has been entrusted with the task of building roads in the North Eastern states and hilly parts of the country. These areas have very heavy rainfall. Stabilization of soil and slopes are a major concern here. The conference provided a platform for technical experts, contractors, government officials, material providers and other stakeholders to come together and discuss the latest, appropriate technology and the best way to put these into use in road construction. Technical experts Mr Giorgio Giachetti from Italy and Mr Leigh Brown from Australia made presentations on soil and slope stabilization and roadside safety in hilly terrain infrastructure respectively.
Referring to the conference and the presentations made by the technical experts Shri Gadkari said that he was very happy that a major concern like soil and slope stabilization has been discussed and was hopeful that NHIDCL would soon be able to use the latest and most appropriate technologies for building safer roads in the North East and hilly areas of the country. He also called upon the corporation to set up a pre-casting unit in the North East so that pre – cast bridges and other structures could be made here. He also said that locally available material should be used in construction work. All this, he said, would go a long way in lowering costs. In addition, he said that concessionaires must train local youth so that they can get some employment at these road projects. Also, all efforts should be made towards greening of highways.
The Minister of State for Road Transport& Highways, Shipping and Chemical & Fertilizer Shri Mansukh Lal Mandaviya expressed satisfaction at the fact that so many stakeholders of the road sector were working in close cooperation to make Indian roads safer and of high quality. He expressed hope that this sort of cooperation would continue and be emulated in other areas of working too.
Shri Anand Kumar, Managing Director of NHIDCL gave an overview of the work being done by the corporation. He informed that NHIDCL was handling 133 projects of about 8000 km and costing about 8000 crores in 14 states.