The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken steps to streamline the process of granting permission for movement of over-weight and over-dimensional cargo on national highways.
In a circular dated September 16th, 2013, the MoRTH said that the fee structure recommended in the report of the Committee headed by its Additional Director General V.L. Patankar had been approved so that a corpus for enabling repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction of national highway stretches that suffer damages due to movement of OWCs and ODCs could be created.
In January this year, the Roads Wing of the MoRTH issued guidelines with regard to movement of OWCs and ODCs on national highways.
During a meeting chaired by the Road Transport and Highways Secretary on April 22nd, 2013, it was decided that the Indian Highways Management Company Limited, set up primarily with the objective of rolling out electronic toll collection at all toll plazas across national highways, would create a corpus by collecting premium from consignors and reimburse the concessionaires for any damage caused due to movement of OWCs and ODCs till the time Oriental Insurance developed a insurance product.
The decision to constitute a four-member Committee headed by V.L. Patankar, ADG – MoRTH, for looking into the fee structure was taken at the same meeting. The Committee was told to submit its report by the first week of May 2013.
It was also decided that till the time of creation of the corpus/finalization of the insurance product by Oriental Insurance, the cost of any major damage to bridges on national highways would be borne by MoRTH/National Highways Authority of India.
The Chief Engineer (Bridges) – MoRTH, suggested at the meeting that a condition survey of bridges on each corridor be undertaken every six months for strengthening by the Roads Wing. He called for inclusion of the cost of the survey in the tariff structure and said that the permission granted in respect of a particular route should be valid for a period of six months unless there were any developments.
The Hydraulic Trailer Owners Association, which participated in the meeting, pointed out that condition assessment of bridges and roads for each and every movement of OWCs and ODCs was going to be costly and time consuming. It requested that the task be carried out by MoRTH and the cost passed on to transporters using the route. The Association representative sought development of a bridge directory along with condition assessment of bridges by the concerned authorities.
The Road Transport and Highways Secretary stressed on the need to identify the major corridors with maximum ODC movement. He said that the periodic condition of the bridges and routes would be indicated by MoRTH and the cost passed on to the transporters using them. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has already submitted a list of the major corridors with ODC movement and the bridges that need to be strengthened, the Joint Secretary (Transport) – MoRTH, informed at the meeting.
The recent MoRTH circular outlining the measures that have been initiated to streamline the process of granting permission for movement of OWCs and ODCs on national highways commits that the survey of the structures and roads along the stretches identified by BHEL would be completed within a maximum period of six months. On the method to be adopted for processing the applications seeking permission for movement of OWCs and ODCs, the circular states that where the survey report for a particular stretch had been submitted earlier by any transporter agency, and made available with the application, the same would be considered for grant of permission. The Chief Engineer (Bridges) would obtain a list of the stretches/portions that might have got damaged meanwhile from the concerned regional officers. The information would be used while processing the requests for permission. In case of the remaining portion of the national highways to be used for movement of OWCs and ODCs, the transporter needs to submit survey report for the structures and critical road portions along with the application.