There are allegations that the UPA government is not pushing this project as priority. NHAI has had four chairmen have been over the last 28 months. Then, the government has not even got down to inviting bids for some sectors, most notably in Karnataka.
Solution: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must get more proactively involved in monitoring the progress of the project.
Problems in land acquisition
Several stretches of NHDP, in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been or are held up by delays in the acquisition of land. Low rates of compensation and corruption in the disbursement of compensation are mainly responsible for this.
Solution: Increase the amount if offers as compensation and ensure that compensation cheques reach land losers on time.
Problems with vendors
Three long stretches of NH-5 (Kolkata-Chennai Corridor)— about 170 km — in Orissa are held up as the contractors’ services are terminated because of complaints over quality. Same in UP and Bihar
Solution: Fast-track re-bidding and offer incentives for completion of the project.
Extortion threats and thefts
In Assam, extortion threats from –and the killing of engineers and labourers – by militants has held up more than 80 per cent of the work in the 190 km stretch in North Cachar. This problem also persists in Bihar and parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Solution: Call a meeting of the states and coerce them to take care of the law and order problem.
Places of Worship
The National Highway Development Programme is stuck at various places in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Tamil Nadu as delays in shifting small temples, mosques and statues of leaders that fall along the alignment of the road.
Solution: Involve local politicians and civil society leaders in negotiations with local religious leaders to bring about a solution.
Inputs from Rahul Karmakar (Guwahati), BR Srikanth (Bangalore), Soumyajit Pattnaik (Bhubaneswar), MR Venkatesh (Chennai), Haidar Naqvi (Lucknow) Bhavna Wal (Agra) BK Singh (Allahabad) and Bharat Kumar (Varanasi)