Concerned over the increasing number of complaints being received about quality of construction with regard to national highways as well as services provided by concessionaires on stretches developed through private sector participation, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to engage independent experts as National Project Monitors.
The NPMs, in addition to assisting regional officers of the MoRTH in project preparation, quality checking during implementation and checking of services rendered by concessionaires, would advise on measures for timely completion of projects and road safety related issues.
Given that around 37 percent of all road fatalities in the country take place on national highway stretches, the MoRTH is keen to initiate suitable measures for improving road safety. The NPMs would provide assistance in the safety audit of stretches at the time of preparation of developmental proposals and implementation, help identify black spots and advise on rectification methods including efficacy of the treatment.
At present, issues such as quality of road construction, services rendered by concessionaires and road safety are looked in to by regional officers of the MoRTH. The mechanism for monitoring, however, is not considered adequate.
The NPMs would be empanelled by a committee headed by the Secretary – Road Transport and Highways. The empanelment would be valid for a period of three years and reviewed thereafter.
To be eligible for empanelment as NPM, one needs to have atleast 10 years of experience in the highway sector. Also, he should have retired from the post of Superintending Engineer and above. Reputed research and technical institutes are also eligible to be empanelled as NPMs.
The services of NPMs would be availed by regional officers. The MoRTH can also avail their services.
The selection of the NPM from among those empanelled would be made by the regional officer/MoRTH on the basis of suitability and availability. A stretch would not be inspected by the same NPM more than twice.
The performance of NPMs would be reviewed periodically based on feedback from regional officers and MoRTH. Those with adverse remarks can be removed from the list of empanelled NPMs.
The NPMs would carry out sampling. For the purpose of testing, they would be required to take the assistance of Public Works Department, regional officers, National Highways Authority of India, laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories and government engineering colleges. Approval from regional officer/MoRTH would have to be taken for selection of test centres.
The NPMs would in no way dilute the implementing agency’s responsibility of ensuring quality of work and services, safety and timely completion of project.