National Highways And Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) ensures the fast track construction of highways and infrastructure on the country’s borders and strategic areas, says Sanjay Jaju, Director, NHIDCL, in conversation with Gautam Debroy of Elets News Network (ENN). Excerpts:
You have recently launched three projects, tell us about your initiatives?
Our first initiative is INAM-Pro (Platform for Infrastructure and Materials Providers). It is a platform created for infrastructure and minerals . The journey began with the cement industry. The idea was to create a marketplace where we can aggregate the market buyers (state PWDs, contractors, corporations etc) and the agencies which are engaged in the construction of public infrastructure. On the other hand, we have the cement manufacturers. We have done the same with steel and now we are trying for the infrastructure material suppliers and service suppliers on this platform.
The second project is known as Infracon. We prepared a detailed project report for it. Earlier the process was not very transparent, but with the use of information and technology, this platform is easing the whole process.
The third project is called ePace which deals with the monitoring of the infrastructure projects of NHIDCL. For the common citizen, the information is available at the click of the button. It has all the information about the projects we are handling and the status of the projects. Bottlenecks and other issues, all get reflected in the monitoring platform we have created.
Tell us about highway and high density projects you have initiated.
I am a part of NHIDCL. The company has been set up to fast-track construction of highways and infrastructure on the country’s borders and strategic areas. We need to increase our cross-border trade with our neighbours, especially in these two frontiers and that is why most of the projects are focused on the eastern region of the country. We are building roads to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and to Myanmar. This company is handling more than 9,000 km of highway projects in the country out of which 2,000 km of highways have been grounded. Within a short span of two years, we have acquired contracts worth Rs 25,000 crores.
Any special initiatives you are planning for repair of highways in northeastern states?
For the north east region, we have a special programme called Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in North East (SARDP-NE). Under the SARDP-NE, this company is implementing various projects. Some of these projects deal with four laned roads. All these projects are not only improving the internal infrastructure of the north east.
Tell us about the Bharatmala project ?
Bharatmala is another initiative which we intend to launch. It deals with developing border infrastructure and developing economic corridors within the country. It aims to facilitate cross border trade. We have been assigned around 5,000 kms of roads in the north eastern region and we are making detailed project reports for them. After the completion of the reports, we will focus on land acquisition and handling of these projects on the ground.
Is there any provision in the policies of NHIDCL for the speedy implementation of the highways projects ?
All these projects are conducted under the Engineering Procurement and Construction rules and are publicly funded to avoid the risk. The Engineering part is also left on the part of the contractor. We pay them on a regular basis. The entire financial risk is taken care by the state. This is done because the north eastern roads don’t have tolls. Effectively we need to put public funds to create infrastructure and now we are doing it on fast track basis.
What road safety initiatives have you undertaken ?
Every detailed project report, we make for any road development project includes a lot of features and items to enhance the safety of the commuters be it the crash barriers or the rumble strength. We go for slope stabilisation so that the problem of the landslides can be taken care of. At the same time, we also improve the curvature of the roads so that blind spots can be eliminated. The vertical and horizontal gradient is improved so that the chances of falling down gets reduced. In every project one to two per cent of the cost is assigned to improve the safety standards of the roads and bring them to the international standards.
What do you want to say about the Nagpur Smart City Summit ?
We have illustrated that it is possible to use information technology, even in the highway sector. There is lot of opportunity in this sector. Similarly, smart devices can be used in a lot of areas in urban development. The concept of smart lighting or solid waste management, urban transportation isopening up a lot of possibilities. I am sure that our cities are going to embrace these amenities and improve the services being given to the citizens. It is to be ensured that these services should be delivered to them in a user-friendly and transparent manner.