Plagued with innumerable delays and most road projects running behind schedule, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) does not have much to boast of and seems to be reluctant to provide related information.
Srikant Jena, minister of state for statistics and programme implementation, has shot a letter to road transport and highways minister CP Joshi complaining that “effective monitoring and reporting” is being affected as information from NHAI, the nodal body for building highways, is unavailable.
Jena also pointed out that in about 50 projects the cumulative expenditure exceeds the original cost.
“(It) seems to suggest that either the revised cost has not been reported to us or there is a misreporting of the expenditure,” Jena wrote in his letter.
Citing an assessment report of July, Jena pointed out that of 123 road sector projects, only 31 are on schedule. Among the 92 delayed projects, seven are delayed by 1-12 months, 13 projects are delayed by 13-24 months, 61 projects are behind schedule by 25-60 months and 11 projects have missed deadline by 60 months and above.
“Apart from flagging of time and cost overruns of projects, the monitoring of slippages in the milestones of a project is maintained on the Online Computerised Monitoring System (OCMS). While most PSUs/ project authorities upload information on OCMS, the NHAI is not uploading data,” Jena wrote.
“Other project authorities furnish detailed background information. In case of NHAI, such background details are not normally available,” Jena added. Seeking Joshi’s intervention, the minister has even offered training NHAI officials on OCMS. Meanwhile, JN Singh, member, finance of NHAI, told HT, “I’m not aware of this issue.”