New Delhi: In a major step towards ease of doing business for road and tunnel contractors, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that now there will be no prior experience or conditions required for the construction of a road tunnel up to 200 metres in length. He was speaking at a virtual event organised by industry body Assocham on Wednesday. The road transport and highways minister said the government also bears the revenue risk in projects where traffic flow turns out lower than anticipated, leading to a reduced toll collection.
"Now, there will be no prior experience or conditions required for the construction of a road tunnel up to 200 metres in length", said the Minister. "For tunnels more than 200 metres in length, the construction experience of a two-lane road tunnel has been accepted," he added.
Gadkari also said that the risk of traffic in addition to plus-minus 5 percent traffic variation shall now be compensated by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a slowdown in India, the minister said, "But due to the supportive policies of the government across all sectors, India's GDP in the first quarter of 2021-22 grew to a record high of 20.1 percent".
"The world is passing through a very challenging time, both on account of the health of people and the economy of the nation due to the pandemic", Gadkari said. "However, now there seems to be positivity slowly coming all around across the globe," he added.
The Minister said for national security and remote area connectivity, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has taken up road tunnel projects of more than Rs 2 lakh crore.
A separate tunnel zone has been created in the ministry to coordinate and expedite the tunnel works in the country, he added.
The minister also pointed out that arrangement regarding direct payment to approved sub-contractors through escrow account can be continued till September 30 or the completion of the work by the sub-contractor, whichever is earlier.
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