Committee on highways to submit report today

Committee on highways to submit report today

New Delhi: The B. K. Chaturvedi committee, set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look at ways to help the highway sector, will submit its second set of recommendations on Wednesday.

Planning commission member and committee chairman B. K. Chaturvedi, said the report, which would be sent to the Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday, examined issues relating to dispute resolution as well as several indirect tax concessions demanded by highway developers.

There are 1,250 arbitration cases with a disputed amount of as much as Rs8,147 crore, according to NHAI data viewed by Mint.

A National Highways Authority of India official, who did not want to be named said the committee had suggested the setting up of a high-level body with officers at the level of former Comptroller and Auditor General, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner and a former past director generals of road transport at the ministry of road transport.

The official said the authority had also proposed the setting up internal high powered committee to accept or challenge awards passed by Dispute Resolution Boards and arbitration tribunals.

Other issues examined by the panel, included extending a 10-year tax holiday for infrastructure companies as well as exemption of divided distribution tax at the special purpose vehicle level.

The panel was tasked with identifying bottlenecks in the highway sector in August last year. It submitted its report in Chaturvedi was tasked with identifying bottlenecks in India’s mammoth road building program made its first set of recommendations last year.

The panel suggested that NHAI be given wider powers to decide the mode of

execution for projects and easing terms for developers. The panel also made it easier for companies to exit national highway projects rather than be locked into them for its entire duration.

The committee also includes finance secretary Ashok Chawla and road transport and highways secretary Brahm Dutt as members.