New Delhi: A parliamentary panel has rapped the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for justifying the "unprecedented" delays in Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) project, and asked it to "vigorously" monitor the progress to avoid any further delays.
The GQ project that aims to provide direct connectivity between four metros Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai had been originally scheduled for completion in 2004.
"The project was originally scheduled to be completed by March 2004...However, by that time hardly 53.03 per cent of project could be completed, which raised serious doubts about
the inception, planning and implementation of the programme," Committee on Estimates said in its latest report.
At present, 115 km of the 5,846 km stretch is still incomplete owing to "contractual problems".
The committee said, what it found "more disturbing is the attempt of the Ministry to justify the delay on ground that program of this magnitude was unprecedented and also the
construction industry in road sector was not adequately developed to take the work of this scale."
Saying that the committee "deplores" such attitude, the 30-member panel, headed by Francisco Sardinha, directed the Ministry to vigorously monitor the project and accord the
highest priority to its maintenance and upkeep.
It also noted that, with the decision of the government to import heavy road construction equipment, the delay should have been minimized, which did not happen.
Seeking the latest report on the GQ project, the committee also suggested proper development of highways around hub cities of the GQ, recommending that Ministry should make tangible efforts to build spokes from each of the hub city.
The construction of the GQ was started during the NDA rule.
National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase I was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in December 2000 at an estimated cost of Rs 30,000 crore. It comprised mostly of GQ (5,846 km) and the North South-East West Corridor (981km), port connectivity (356 km) and others (315 km).