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The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is in the midst of launching a web portal that will facilitate and speed up availability of cement for national highway projects as well as projects under centrally sponsored schemes.

Following the recent decision to make rigid pavement the default mode of construction in national highway projects due to factors related to durability, fuel consumption, weather conditions, maintenance and environment, the MoRTH has acquired ex-factory rates from a large number of cement manufacturers for various grades of cement including 33 grade Ordinary Portland Cement, 43 grade Ordinary Portland Cement, 53 grade Ordinary Portland Cement, Sulphate Resisting Portland Cement, Portland Pozzolana Cement (fly ash based), Portland Slag Cement, Rapid Hardening Portland Cement and Low Heat Portland Cement. The rates that have been quoted by the cement manufacturers are valid for a fixed period.

As per the terms and conditions set by the ministry for supplying cement to national highway projects, cement manufacturers who have quoted rates will have to ensure supply within 15 days from the date of issue of supply instructions provided the quantity ordered does not fall below 100 tonnes. The MoRTH is going to monitor the performance of the cement manufacturers but without being responsible for disputes relating to supplies and payment. In the event of failure on the part of cement manufacturers to arrange supplies within the stipulated time frame, except in force majeure conditions, their earnest money deposit will be forfeited. In such case, the developer, contractor or the agency executing the project will have the option to purchase equivalent quantity of cement from an alternative source after giving seven days notice to the cement manufacturer with whom the initial order was placed. Any extra expenses incurred over and above the accepted rate in the purchase of cement from alternative source will be deducted from the defaulting cement manufacturer’s account. A cement manufacturer who fails to perform and maintain the delivery schedule, even in force majeure conditions, can be debarred by the MoRTH from participating in future orders.

The ministry has asked 37 cement manufacturers to register their details on the soon to be launched web portal for supply of cement. To ensure smooth functioning of the system, the representatives of these manufacturers will be given hands on training on how to use the web portal. Once operational, it will enable developers, contractors and central and state government agencies entrusted with execution of national highway projects and other projects under centrally sponsored schemes to place purchase orders with the cement manufacturers.

Concrete roads have several advantageous over bituminous roads. Not only do they cost less in the long run, but more importantly, such roads last longer with less need for maintenance and repair. Studies show that driving on concrete pavements is more fuel-efficient than driving on asphalt pavements. Also, concrete roads are safer, more environment friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

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