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Cities - Developments, Projects & Construction
<b>Bigger, Faster, Better </b>
India's top tycoon hopes to kick the country's nascent boom into hyperdrive by remaking its stores, farms and even its biggest cities.
By Ron Moreau and Sudip Mazumdar
Newsweek International

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->link<b>'Unlock' infrastructure to grow @10% </b>
Posted online: Sunday, July 30, 2006 at 1822 hours IST
New Delhi, July 30: India needs more reforms and lower taxes if the core infrastructure sector -- from energy to steel -- is to grow at more than 5 per cent in 2006/07, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said on Sunday.

The infrastructure sector is key for Asia's third-largest economy to hit 10 per cent growth, up from 8.4 per cent in 2005/06.

<b>Combined growth of six infrastructure sectors -- oil and gas, crude oil, electricity, coal, steel and cement -- was 4.9 per cent in 2005/06. </b>

The FICCI said higher core growth would also benefit the engineering and services sectors.

An FICCI survey of Indian business shows the oil and gas sector growing at 0.8-1.4 per cent in 2006/07, versus a 1.4 per cent fall in output in 2005/06.

Crude oil production should rise 0.5-1.2 per cent in the year to March 2007, versus a 5.2 per cent drop a year earlier, it said.

India imports about 70 per cent of its fuel needs, and rising world oil prices will push up its import bill and put pressure on the rupee. Higher domestic output could help India trim imports, the federation said.

The FICCI said a New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) was yet to yield results and the government should introduce more liberal packages to boost domestic production.

The coal sector is projected to grow at 6.5-7 per cent in 2006/07, up slightly from 6.4 per cent a year earlier, the FICCI said, while electric power should grow 5.5-6 per cent, up from 5.1 per cent in 2005/06.

Steel output should rise 7-8 per cent, up from 6.5 per cent.
<b>India Must End `Build-Neglect-Rebuild' Culture: Andy Mukherjee </b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Highways at standstill </b>
Yogesh Vajpeyi | New Delhi
...as authorities bicker over new contract
Disagreements over the new Model Concession Agreement, authored by a Planning Commission functionary, have virtually pushed the country's National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) to a dead end.

The impasse has forced the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) not to award any new road project contract under private public participation (PPP) during this financial year so far.

And indications are that the authority, which had targeted awarding over 3,000 km highway projects under NHDP phases II and III this fiscal year, would not be able to do so in the next few months.

<b>The award of fresh highway contracts has been on hold since January 2005 to allow a new MCA to be instated in place of the existing MCA</b>.

But the NHAI and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) have been opposing the new MCA, authored by IAS officer Gajendra Haldia, advisor to deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia more than a year back, on the plea that it is impractical.

One of their principal objections is the new MCA stipulation that NHAI acquire and hand over 80 per cent of total land required for the project to the road developer within three months of awarding the project. In case NHAI is unable to do this, it has to compensate the road operator.

NHAI and MORTH say that since the State Governments handle land acquisition, NHAI should not be punished for their failure to do so within the time frame.

<b>According to the earlier MCA, the road developer was required to acquire land, while NHAI had to facilitate the process. "But now, NHAI has to acquire the land and even achieving 50-60 per cent land acquisition within the first three months is quite a task for the authority," </b>say NHAI officials.

<b>After over a year of procrastination, the Government is now considering a move to relax this requirement so that NHAI can hand over 50-60 per cent of total land required within first three months.</b>

But the MCA has now hit a new roadblock. State Governments have raised their concerns over the ambiguity in its competing road clause. The clause prohibits them to construct another competing road along the national highway for 10 years.

They have sought clarification about the MCA's definition of "competing roads" before committing their support because it makes the State agencies violating the clause liable to pay the concessionaire compensation equal to the difference between the realisable fee and the projected daily fee until the breach is rectified.

The State support agreement is a crucial element in the finalisation and acceptance of the MCA. It also ensures State's support in providing various clearances and assistance in terms of infrastructure facilities to the concessionaire. State support is also required for traffic diversion and police assistance during project implementation.

Despite over a year's haggling and cajoling, the new MCA has yet to clear many other roadblocks, highly placed sources in the Government fear.

The new toll policy, which was to be a part of the new MCA, has also not yet been firmed up. Private players, for instance, feel capping hikes in toll rates at just 40 per cent of the wholesale price index against 100 per cent earlier make it a lot less attractive.

Ironically, irrespective of these objections from various stakeholders, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman's advisor<b> Gajendra Haldia is pushing the new MCA relentlessly. Haldia, a 1973 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer, has also copyrighted the new MCA in his name.</b>

NHAI is understandably squeamish about the new MCA because it takes away a lot of discretionary powers from it. It reduces the day-to-day interaction between the builder and NHAI engineers and proposes a 'hands off' approach so that the NHAI is allowed to intervene only in the event of default.

"We will not be able to hold up approvals and money based on various construction linked specifications being unmet," says an official.

<b>Only time will tell whether the MCA will ultimately reduce delays, bring more efficiency and lower costs remains to be seen, as its promoters claim. But just now it has virtually derailed the NHDP.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Here comes another opportunity for new committee for Moron Singh.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>None for the road </b>
The Pioneer Edit Desk
Highway robbers of another kind

The apathy with which the UPA Government has treated the National Highway Development Programme exposes the lip service that it has paid, and continues to pay, to progress, while claiming to be progressive. As reported in this paper on Monday, <b>a most ludicrous clash of factors and interests has occurred, which has put on hold a vital area of national regeneration in several regions of the country</b>. After all,<b> one of the primary hindrances before investment - both domestic and foreign - in the deep hinterland is the near-absence of infrastructure, of which road and electricity is the plinth, the touchstone. On both these counts, the UPA Government's performance has been abysmal. What is worse, it seems to have tied itself in knots - got entangled in miles and miles of red-tape - which will require imaginative solutions along with the requisite political will for it to extricate</b>. The problem seems to have its roots in the Planning Commission itself; one of its top functionaries, who has authored the Model Concession Agreement, has failed to obtain the assent of other relevant bodies in successfully seeking private-public participation to complete the projects. With two power-packed bodies like the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as well as National Highway Development Authority at loggerheads with the Planning Commission official, work on more than 3,000 km of highways - which constitutes the second phase of NHDP - has been stalled since January 2005. The problem isn't so much that a conflict of interests, aims and objectives has arisen; in any development project, there are bound to be contrarians and supporters of a programme. To an extent, this is also welcome because it means there is a healthy discussion on the proposed ventures. However, <b>what is inexplicable - much less pardonable - is holding hostage a project as vital as the NHDP on grounds of failure to satisfy individual egos. It speaks ill of the Government's ability to function in the most rudimentary sense if it fails to get certain simple messages across: Perform or perish, for one.</b>

To an extent, of course, problem also lies with the States. Indeed, going by empirical evidence, <b>there are State Governments that have made complete use of the opportunity and pressed on with the NHDP to be today seen as 'Model States'. Gujarat, in particular, has transformed its countryside with both roads and electricity and is thereby taking prosperity to countless of its people</b>. On the other hand there are States like Uttar Pradesh that continue to languish as far as the basic communication links are concerned. <b>Then there is also Bihar, which till a year ago was politically hostile to the very idea of development, but which has today pulled out all the stops to finish the highway projects.</b> At the end of the day, a leadership with the force of a broad social and political vision is all that matters; and in the present instance, <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>the UPA Government has given a poor account of its ability to deliver on some very fundamental requirements of the common man.</span> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
If you take a long view of history of Indian cities, there are prinicipally three types of cities and towns: religious centers- Benaras, Madurai, Kanchi etc, political administration centers or capitals - Delhi, Hyderabad etc and finally centers for commerce- Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad etc. Many cities combine features of these three types and some only have two categories. Some are new like the British established cities on the sea shore and Chandigarh, while most are old and a few others ancient. This mix of urban life is unique to India. Other places dont have this much diversity.
While I havent really visited any other states besides Gujarat and Maharashtra, I have heard many people say that infrastructure-wise Gujarat is waay ahead of any other state. I remember a ride from Mehsana-Gujarat was considered in up-down category. Today it take an hour. While GSTC isnt what we would like it to be but the rest of infrastructure alone provides so much incentive for pvt xport companies that reaching from anywhere to anywhere is piece of cake. On last visit I wanted to go to Somnath (Veraval) and before I used to take Girnar xpress but this time that train has been discontinued since they are laying down broadgauge line on that route. Instead I took the bus and it took me 9 hours in a nice luxury bus. It was amazing. Even where we took a break for meals, the restaurant was gorgeous and it was in the middle of nowhere.

In short besides the ability to handle torrential rains I think the infrastructure of Gujarat is truly fantastic.
Infrastructure is very good in Punjab, but I will give credit to Army and being near hostile border. After freedom, Indian Government over pampered state of Punjab in every aspect. Roads, communication, rail link, education facilities, Panchayat and Hospital facilities are far far better than rest of India.
Situation in MP and Chattisgargh is pretty bad. Visible lack of development everywhere.
Which cities were huge during ancient times?
I know that Patliputra had 1 million + people during the Mauryan Empire. We keep hearing about Rome having 1 million people around this time too, I was curious where other cities in the world ranked at the same time (around 2000 years ago).

<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Nov 14 2006, 12:22 AM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Nov 14 2006, 12:22 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->If you take a long view of history of Indian cities, there are prinicipally three types of cities and towns: religious centers- Benaras, Madurai, Kanchi etc, political administration centers or capitals - Delhi, Hyderabad etc and finally centers for commerce- Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad etc. Many cities combine features of these three types  and some only have two categories. Some are new like the British established cities on the sea shore and Chandigarh, while most are old and a few others ancient. This mix of urban life is unique to India. Other places dont have this much diversity.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Nov 14 2006, 01:23 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Nov 14 2006, 01:23 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> After freedom, Indian Government over pampered state of Punjab in every aspect.  Roads, communication, rail link, education facilities, Panchayat and Hospital facilities are far far better than rest of India.
even the green revolution experiment was started there.

but punjabis themselves are also a major reason why punjab is prosperous.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->even the green revolution experiment was started there.

but punjabis themselves are also a major reason why punjab is prosperous. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Green revolution was successful because of extensive funding and fertile land.
Bhakra dam, nahar system, Agriculture colleges gave them advantage.
Indian government promoted small scale industry in every major city. Being a border state, Army built or required good roads and rail system. TV and radio coverage was given on high priority, just to discourage Pakistani propaganda. Even with rampant corruption, growth and living standard is very high comparative to rest of India.
Even in 80s, rarely one can see beggars. High antenna, one can find everywhere.
Other than Chandigargh, cities are not well planned, mostly are very old. But now there is a sea change. Old farmers either moved to Canada or US, leasing farms is a trend.
Yes, people of Punjab are enterprising or good in survival and can use any means to make money and survive.

Location, location location.
Other states never had this advantage.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->even the green revolution experiment was started there.

but punjabis themselves are also a major reason why punjab is prosperous. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The roots of the agricultural turn around can be tracked back to the great famine of Bengal in 1943. However, the major thrust or "Green Revolution" started as the result of the wars of 1962 and 1965. India until then depended very heavily upon the food import from USA, USSR, Cuba, Mexico, and China.

During the wars, this dependence proved to be the strategic weakness of India, which was quickly realized by Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri who was Agriculture/supplies minister and later Prime Minister. During this period, he launched the campaign of "Adhik Ann Upjao", to increase the food grain production. Another campaign of weekly fasting and kitchen gardening was launched to reduce the consumption of food grains and shift the consumption of grains towards vegetables.

After the wars, Indian government had to relook at the food policy from security standpoint. and the result was what came to be later known as the green revolution. By the end of 1965 the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) was re-organized and re-vitalized. The experimentation of new agriculture suitable for modern India was championed in the universities of PUSA Bihar, TNAU Coimbatore, and GBPAU Pant Nagar UP. The pioneering scientiests who were the brains behind the research were Dr. MP Singh, Dr. MS Swaminathan, and Dr. BP Pal.

There was 3-fold development required for India:
- developing high-yield food grain seeds, suitable for Indian soil
- developing technology to make productive vast non-cultivable land of central and western India.
- developing infrastructure for efficient production(fertilizer factories, cold storages, irrigation systems, distribution system, local value additions like sugar mills)

It is a myth that Panjab was the main beneficiary. While it is true Panjab was one of the states which soon caught up with new techniques and benefited, it was not alone. Haryana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and UP were other main states that benefited. While Panjab and Haryana excelled in wheat and mustard production, WB in cottonseed, UP in sugar cane and pulses, TN in rice and oilseeds. If Punjab came to be known as breakfast table of India, UP the sugarbowl of India.

Within 15 years, by the late 70s, rural India was turned around and India was exporting food grains rather than importing.

Farmers of Punjab and Haryana, did show more flexibility in adapting to new paragigm of technology and took the changes in their stride. So much so that the state of UP invited the Jat/Sikh farmers of Punjab haryana to come and settle down in the arid regions of western northern UP, and a new large district was created called "Sardar Udham Singh Nagar" which is in Uttarachal now. Even the governments of African countries came to request and invite Punjab farmers
to settle there. But all this was not due to any partial interest taken by the Indian Govt, but just because of natural conditions of Punjab and hard work of Punjabi farmers.
<b>Hilton, DLF to Build 75 Hotels in India in 7 Years </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Hilton Hotels Corp., the second- largest U.S. provider of rooms, plans to build 75 hotels and serviced apartments in India in a venture with DLF Ltd, a real estate company owned by billionaire Kushal Pal Singh.

Hilton, based in Beverly Hills, California, will invest $143 million building the properties over seven years, the companies said in a statement.<b> DLF will control 74 percent of the venture</b>.

Hilton and Accor SA, Europe's largest hotel company, are building rooms in India as Deccan Aviation Ltd. adds flights to new airports and tourism grows at the world's third-fastest pace after Montenegro and China.

Hilton Chief Executive Officer Stephen Bollenbach said in October the group is also looking for a partner in China, where it plans to open 100 hotels in the next three to five years.

Hilton today said it will build its Hilton Hotels and Hilton Garden Inn brand in India, a move made possible by its $5.7 billion purchase of U.K.-based Hilton Group. The venture will initially build<b> 20 hotels in cities including Chandigarh, Chennai, and Kolkata to cater to business travelers,</b> it said.

Paris-based Accor yesterday said it formed a venture with the Indian unit of Emaar Properties PJSC to set up 100 budget hotels in India. John Keells Holdings Ltd., Sri Lanka's biggest hotel operator, plans to invest $100 million building its first resorts in India, Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunewardene said in an interview in Singapore.
<b>30 feared killed as flyover collapses in Hyderabad</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hyderabad: Hyderabad: Over 20 people were feared dead and another 20 injured after an under-construction flyover collapsed in Hyderabad's busy Panajagutta area late Sunday evening.

The flyover has been under construction for the past one year, and was to be inaugurated this December.

A major concern for the authorities was that there should not be too much movement around the damaged part of the flyover, which is still barely standing and may fall down anytime soon unless it is demolished properly using cranes and bulldozers<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Road projects suffer as Baalu obsessed with Setu </b>
Rajeev Ranjan Roy | Bhopal
The key infrastructure projects of the Ministry of Road, Transport and Shipping headed by TR Baalu are running far behind the schedule of completion. The time overrun is so huge that it raises doubts whether timely completion of the projects is any concern for Baalu, currently seized with the issue of Sethusamudram project.

<b>The latest infrastructure appraisal report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation paints a grim picture of delay in the execution of work on east-west, north-south corridors along with the monstrous delay in completing the crucial port connectivity roads. In the case of several such projects, the physical progress is nil. The deadline is lost.</b>

The majority of projects under North-Sourth Corridor-II have registered tardy progress.<b> For instance, the physical progress of Rs 546.15 crore-worth Adloor-Kalkallu road on the National Highway 7 has so far been only 0.50 per cent. </b>

<b>"The project was approved in December 2003 at an estimated cost of Rs 546.15 crore. The progress report of the project is dismal. In fact, there are several such projects where the physical progress is abysmal, leading to cost overruns. It is a sad reflection on the implementation of important projects,"</b> an official in the Ministry of S&PI said.

"The North-Sourth Corridor-II projects showing tardy progress include the corridors between Jam-Wadner-Devdhari-Kelapur in Maharashtra, Madurai-Kanyakumari project on the National Highway 7 in Tamil Nadu, Nagpur-Hyderabad, and Pathankot-Bhogpur. All the 40 corridors under the project are bound to miss the deadline," the official said.

"Similarly, there are as many as 66 corridors to be completed under East-West Corridor-II project. Except a few corridors like Rajkot bypass-Gondal Getpur in Gujarat where the physical progress is 41.90 per cent, others are progressing at the snail's pace, though they were approved in December 2003 itself," the official added.

The infrastructure appraisal report of the S&PI Ministry even shows all the projects under the Golden Quadrilateral have been delayed by three years. <b>An ambitious project launched during the NDA's time, the project was to be originally commissioned by 2004, and the deadline now appears to be early 2008 or 2009.</b>

The GQ, north-south and east-west corridors are the part of National Highway Development Project-I (NHDP). According to a Government official, there were 196 projects of the Road and Transport Ministry on the monitoring radar of the S&PI Ministry for the period ending December 2006. At least 92 projects have been delayed.

The officials attribute the time overrun in NHDP packages to adverse law and order situation in Bihar and Jharkhand, difficulties experienced in land acquisition as in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

"There are several other factors like delay in getting the forestland clearance, removal of large number of structures, including places of worship and other utilities, which contribute greatly in delaying the road projects," they said.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>All roads lead to TN, courtesy Baalu </b>
Nidhi Sharma | New Delhi
All roads seem to lead to Tamil Nadu. Quite literally so, especially ever since DMK's TR Baalu took charge of Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways.

<b>Latest statistics of the Ministry reveal that the State has cornered the most number of four-laning projects in India, the maximum length of highways under National Highway Development Programme and even pilot projects.</b>

<b>Thanks to Baalu, his home State is surging ahead in road projects. According to the status report of 29 States, Tamil Nadu is slated for upgradation of 2,617.16 km of its highways -- the maximum all over India. Even larger States like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have not had this kind of luck. The comparative figures of other States that follow close are Uttar Pradesh with 1773.81 km, Bihar with 1591.88 and Madhya Pradesh 1465.83 km marked for four-laning.</b>

Baalu's Ministry statistics show that Tamil Nadu ranks sixth all over India on the criteria of highways that have been four-laned so far. About 576.27 km of its national highways have already been four-laned. Other States that have better four-laning statistics include Gujarat (1391.01 km), Andhra Pradesh (1209.39 km), Rajasthan (1007.48 km), Uttar Pradesh (949.21 km) and Maharashtra (829.60 km). The statistics acquire more significance because Tamil Nadu is a smaller State with a lower highway density per lakh of population as compared to these States.

<b>The happy story does not end here. The State finds favour even in fund allocation for repair and maintenance of national highways. The Ministry's statistics reveal that in the last two years, Rs 73.65 crore has been spent on the maintenance of State's highways. This amount is even less than what the Centre allocated for improvement of Bihar's highways. This amount is comparable to what States that have three times the road network and density have got</b>.

Tamil Nadu also has the maximum length of national highways (NH) covered under National Highway Development Programme (NHDP). In all, 3,214 km of NH in Tamil Nadu are covered under NHDP. Only Goa ranks ahead of Tamil Nadu here as 82% of its national highways are undergoing upgradation.

This is not all. The State seems to find favour in other projects -- especially in implementation of pilot projects. <b>Interestingly, the Ministry had chosen Tamil Nadu to implement a pilot project on road safety and motorist behaviour.</b> There is no explanation why the State was chosen. A senior Ministry official said, "It was a pilot project, which will be replicated in all States. There was no particular reason for choosing Tamil Nadu." So here again, the state got lucky and was the first one to have the project.

However, the Minister does not even attempt to hide his soft corner for his home State. <b>He holds special meetings in the Ministry to review the progress of road projects in Tamil Nadu -- an honour that is seldom bestowed on other States</b>. He reviewed the State projects on December 2 and the Ministry sent a page-long description on how the projects had suffered because of monsoons. <b>Goa got this attention after Prime Minister's visit and when the Chief Minister hounded Baalu to draw his attention towards bridge projects that had been pending for over 30 years </b>
<b>Country's first water tunnel to come up in Mumbai</b>

With a view to meet the growing demand of water and overcome the problem of its inequitable distribution, the BMC has begun work on the country's first underground tunnel, from Malabar Hill to Cross Maidan in South Mumbai.

The Bhoomipuja ceremony for the project, took place on Tuesday in presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and Mayor Shubha Raul.

The tunnel, at a depth of 70-metre below the surface, is 3.6 km long will be complete by 2011. The cost of the project is Rs 157 crore as given under the JNNURM.

The project will benefit Kalbadevi, Dhobitalao, Thakurdwar, CST, Fort, Colaba, Nariman Point and Cuffe Parade areas in South Mumbai.

Currently, the BMC provides 3,350 mld water per day to the city's 1.6 crore population. The real demand is for 4,200 mld of water.

Besides, the pipe lines in the South Mumbai are 100 years old and small in the diameter, which need to be replaced.

Mayor Shubha Raul said that presently, BMC faces 20-30 per cent of water leakage which is equal to the water supply of Pune city and the underground tunnel will prevent encroachments and water theft.

Also, there are other problems like contamination of water due to aging network and intermittent supply which peaks during monsoon. The average duration of water supply is from 20 minutes to four hours depending upon the areas.
<b>REL gets Mumbai trans-harbour project</b>

A consortium of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) company Reliance Energy has bagged the construction contract for the Mumbai trans-harbour link between Sewri in Mumbai and Nava-Sheva across the creek in Navi Mumbai beating a consortium led by Mukesh Ambani.

Sources said the REL-Hyundai combine quoted a lower concession period for the build,operate and transfer (BOT) project of nine years and 11 months as against 75 years quoted by the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Sea King Infrastructure.

Phase-I of the project will comprise a six-lane dual carriageway linking Nhava to Sewri and Phase-II, which is expected to be added in 2015 -18, will consist of a double track rail link that will run parallel to the road link on the north side.

Government officials said the project cost has been revised to Rs 6,000 crore with a construction period of five years. The REL-led consortium can charge Rs 250 per heavy vehicle and Rs 120 for cars and light commercial vehicles as toll charges.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Road connectivity with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh</b>
March 05, 2008

At present, the Asian Highway (AH) route AH-2 near Siliguri passes through Banglabandha—Siliguri—Kakarbhitta. Further AH-48 presently extends from Thimphu—Phuentsholing—Border of India.

The Government has approved in February 2008 the proposal for proposing to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations (UNESCAP) amendments to the above mentioned AH routes. The amendment to AH-2 involves inclusion of ‘Phulbari’ between the route passing through Banglabandha and Siliguri and defining the route of AH-2 at this location as “…Banglabandha—Phulbari—Siliguri—Kakarbhitta…..”.

The other amendment includes providing link to Bhutan by extending route of AH-48 from “Thimphu—Phuentsholing—Jaigaon—Hasimara—Jalpaiguri—Phulbari”, and consequently connect with AH-2 at Phulbari in India.

This is envisaged to be of help in improving the international travel for trade and tourism among India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. This is also envisaged at providing connectivity to the Capital of Bhutan, i.e. Thimphu, with India through the Asian Highway route.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>4-laning of Delhi-Dehradun National Highway</b>
March 05, 2008

Delhi - Dehradun National Highway has been identified for 4 laning under National Highway Development Project (NHDP) Phase III on Build, Operate & Transfer (BOT) basis.

Widening to 4 lane work in Meerut-Muzaffarnagar section is in progress and delayed due to initial problem regarding tree cutting & land acquisition and is targeted to be completed by March, 2009.

Widening to 4 lane work in Muzaffarnagar-Haridwar section could not be awarded as only single bid was received and the same was cancelled. For re-bidding of this section, updation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) as per new Model Concession Agreement (MCA) as decided by Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) is in progress.

The Haridwar-Dehradun section is passing through Rajaji National Park and clearance is to be obtained from the Central Empowered Committee constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. After clearance from Central Empowered Committee and PPPAC, bidding process is to be taken up for award of 4 laning work.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Condition of National Highways in country</b>
March 05, 2008

The National Highways in the country are being kept in traffic worthy condition within the available resources.

However, there have been damages to the National Highways due to overloading, rains, floods etc. Repair of National Highways is a continuous process and the repair works are taken up within the available resources depending upon the extent of damages, traffic density and inter-se priority of works.

The details of fund allocated and spent on the repairs of National Highways in the last three years including the current year are given below.

<!--c1--><div class='codetop'>CODE<!--ec1-->           Amount Rs. in crore
Year            Allocation  Expenditure
2004-2005  745.56      678.95
2005-2006  868.10      838.34
2006-2007  814.38      784.56
2007-2008  1001.68  484.17* <!--c2--><!--ec2-->
* Expenditure is up to 31.01.2008<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Quality control on NH project</b>
March 05, 2008

Execution of works on National Highways is being done by the implementing agencies of this Ministry viz. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), State Public Works Departments (PWDs) and Border Roads Organization (BRO).

In order to ensure that the execution of works conform to Ministry's specifications and relevant publications of Indian Roads Congress, the implementing agencies have well established quality control system.

For ensuring quality during construction, supervision consultants/ independent engineers are appointed by NHAI. Test checks are also performed by Project Directors of various field units.

In some projects NHAI is also employing technical examiners to confirm the quality. For works handled by State PWDs and BRO, the quality control checks are performed by field officials.

The implementing agencies are exercising necessary quality control checks as per norms prescribed during construction. If any defects are observed, the same are got rectified with full quality control and re-tested.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Connectivity at snail's pace: Golden Quadrilateral not before 2009 </b>
Nidhi Sharma | New Delhi
Golden Quadrilateral, conceptualised in 1998 the ambitious project of connecting all four metros with four-lane highways, is unlikely to be completed before 2009 -- six years beyond the original deadline set by the Government.   

Eight years after work was started on the 5,846-km network, there is no end in sight as several contracts have not yet been awarded.

The original deadline of completion for Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) was December 2003, which was revised to December 2004. However, it was later revised to December 2005 because of problems in land acquisition and non-cooperation by States. Even after revision of successive missed deadlines, the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways had expected to complete all work on GQ by end of 2007. The Ministry had later promised that the pending work would be completed in the first quarter of 2008-09 fiscal. However, even this seems impossible as several contracts are not awarded and the work is likely to spill over to 2009.

Latest statistics given by the Ministry during reviews conducted by Principal Secretary, Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and committee of secretaries reveal that 196 km of GQ is still incomplete. This length has been broken into 25 contracts, of which 15 are expected to be completed by June this year. There are, however, 10 contracts or 156 km that would be completed much after June.

According to sources, there are three contracts that have still not been awarded. These include 77-km Harihar-Chitradurga in Karnataka, 56-km Haveri-Harihar in Karnataka and 62.64 km Balasore-Bhadrak stretch in Orissa. Work on these stretches has been left mid-way, as the contracts have been terminated.

However, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been unable to award these contracts. The result is that there is no estimate as to when work would be completed on these stretches.

There are five contracts that will be terminated because of slow pace of work. Orissa's 55.173-km long Sunakhala-Ganjam stretch is not even 50 per cent complete. Though the original deadline for completion was April 2004, the project will only been completed by December 2009 -- over five years after the target. Even this deadline could be revised because the contract is now likely to be terminated.

Another case in point is 76-km Varanasi-Mohania stretch. The original date of completion was March 2005 and it is now unlikely to meet its revised deadline of this month. The 13-km Tumkur bypass in Karnataka, which had to be completed in December 2003, has a June 2008 deadline. However, only 9.7 km have been completed yet. The NHAI has moved to rescind the contract due to slow progress.

Though Gorhar-Barwar Adda stretch in Jharkhand is 91 per cent complete, the contract will be terminated because of the slow progress. The stretch was to be completed in March 2005 but would now be completed only by September this year or even later.
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