Photo: Illustration only/Wikipedia

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has advised contractors and concessionaires to procure cement for all new national highway projects through its recently launched platform for infrastructure and material providers (www.inampro.nic.in) so that reduction in construction cost of rigid pavement can be achieved.

The web-based application for infrastructure and material providers was launched with the objective of providing a common platform to all infrastructure material providers including cement companies, infrastructure providers, MoRTH and other stakeholders. Initially, contractors and concessionaires who are engaged in executing central or state funded road, highway or bridge construction projects will be able to use the web portal to place cement orders online with registered cement companies offering cement at competitive rates in the vicinity of project execution locations.

The application will allow cement companies to update their offered stock on the portal with the prices agreed upon with MoRTH. It will also provide instant intimation to the cement companies about the orders placed by contractors and concessionaires and the requested delivery schedules can be approved without hassles and delays. Based on the orders placed and the delivery schedules requested through the web portal, the cement companies will have the option to plan their annual production in advance and follow schedule deliveries with better precision.

The cement stock offerings can be increased and the prices reduced in accordance with the market demand to attract more buyers. In addition, the application will enable companies to track orders, add more products (grade/type), add cement offerings, view listed buyers, and submit complaints and suggestions to the MoRTH. The buyers too will be able to view and track their orders placed with different companies and submit suggestions and complaints. The activities of the buyers as well as the suppliers on the web portal are going to be monitored by the MoRTH and necessary measures initiated for timely execution of infrastructure projects in a cost-effective manner.

Dominance of bitumin
At present, the bituminous pavement remains the predominant mode of construction on national highways. However, the MoRTH has now decided to make cement concrete pavement the default mode of construction on national highways taking into consideration factors related to service life, fuel consumption, weather conditions, maintenance costs and utilisation of natural resources. The primary objective behind the decision is to promote environment friendly construction practices.

Given that the cost of constructing cement concrete pavement is estimated to be 5-20 percent more than bituminous pavement, the MoRTH has acquired ex-factory rates from a number of cement manufacturers for various grades of cement that conform to its specifications as well as those of Bureau of Indian Standards. The initiative is likely to reduce the construction cost of rigid pavement and maximise the use of cement in construction of national highways. The rates at which the cement manufacturers have offered to supply various grades of cement are valid for a period one year and can be viewed on the MoRTH website (www.morth.nic.in). The cement manufacturers will supply cement at the quoted rates, excluding taxes, directly to all central and state government organisations, government owned corporations, local bodies, contractors and concessionaires on receipt of supply orders.

All stakeholders engaged in executing national highway projects and other centrally sponsored infrastructure projects have been asked by the MoRTH to register on the ‘INAM-PRO’ web portal for ease of procurement/supply of cement at the offered rates. The estimates of all new national highway projects will be worked out taking into account the rates that have been offered by cement manufacturers. Consultants and tendering authorities have been directed to incorporate the offered rates of cement companies in projects being executed in BOT/EPC mode.

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