New Delhi: In order to maintain its high growth, India would have to increase the number of civil engineering graduates and diploma holders by at least a three times, a World Bank study has found.
The study ‘Indian Road Construction Industry: Capacity issues, constraints and recommendations,’ projects that skilled staff will fall short by as much as 55 to 64%.
The construction industry has also not kept pace with the increase in road works, with more than 70% of construction contracts exceeding the scheduled time by more than 25%. Nearly 40% of the contracts also exceed cost expectations by as much as 50% the study said. The study also estimates that as much as Rs90 billion in tied up in disputes and arbitration with state and national authorities.
The delays and cost over-runs are attributed to delays in providing land for highway projects, with the average time for providing the land being 30 months, as against the usually allocated 18 months.
Highlighting the problems faced by contractors, H.K. Advani, director Somdutt Builders Ltd said government authorities often left it to the contractors to co-ordinate land acquisition as well as several other functions. Also, the government would decide to reduce the width of the road and the median, when faced with land acquisition issues, creating problems for contractors.
The study recommends that the government set up a Road Appellate Tribunal for faster dispute resolution and start grading contractors and consultants, apart from the quick enactment of the proposed land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement bills.
“The key constraints faced by the road construction industry; Design, pre-construction issues (delays in site hand-over), timely payments and other project implementation issues,” Arnab Bandyopadhyay, Senior Transport Engineer of the World Bank and one of the authors of the study was quoted as saying in a press statement. :
Speaking at the launch of the report, road transport minister Kamal Nath said the government plans to reduce time taken in land acquisition process from 18 months (at present) to 8 months. He would also be reviewing all on-going projects to reach the government’s target of constructing 20 kms of roads a day.
PTI contributed to this story.