New Delhi: In a bid to minimise time and cost overruns in road projects, the government will award 30 contracts to build about 4,000 km of highways this fiscal under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode, the model document for which was approved on Friday.
"This year 30 projects would go on EPC. We expect to build 3,000-4,000 kms of highways. In another two-three years we will award 9,000 kms under National Highways Development Project (NHDP)," Road Transport and Highways Secretary A K Upadhyay said addressing a press conference here.
Under the mode, the contractor will be responsible for the maintenance of the highways for two years while for bridges and structures the liability will be for five years, he said.
"In case of early completion of work, the developer will be given bonus while for faults in construction he will attract penalty. In case government fails to fulfil its commitment, it will give damages to the contractor," Upadhyay said exuding confidence that the new mode would result in cash infusion.
At present the highways works not viable on build, operate and transfer (toll)/ equity mode are taken up under the traditional item-rate contracts.
The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI), approved the Model EPC Agreement Document for construction of 2-lane National Highways Works, structured in a manner to minimise time and cost overruns in projects with optimisation of design and quality construction.
The EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers) in February, this year, mandated that EPC document after finalisation through inter-Ministerial consultations could be placed before the CCI for consideration.
Meanwhile, the CCI today also approved a policy to outsource operation and maintenance of National Highways to private parties for smooth flow of traffic.
Also, it gave ex-post facto clearance for six Operation, Maintenance and Transfer (OMT) projects on East-West corridor measuring 963 kms which have been awarded after the approval of Standing Finance Committee and the ministry concerned.
Upadhyay said OMT system will help highways users across the country as the traffic on well-maintained roads will be smooth.
He said this fiscal, the government plans to award 2,998 kms to be brought under OMT while it has identified 517 kms to be undertaken during the next fiscal.
Meanwhile, sources said, Ministry and Environment and Forest (MoEF) has cleared 80 files pertaining to the Transport Ministry, which in turn would give a boost to road building.