The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has settled claims worth ₹13,349 crore for ₹3,743 crore, since financial year 2017-18, road transport and highways ministry said on Wednesday.
“Till Now, 108 cases have been referred to CCIE (Conciliation Committees of Independent Experts) and claims worth ₹13,349 crore have been successfully settled for an amount of ₹3,743 crore. NHAI is working on a fast track mode to resolve all the disputes through conciliation," an official statement said.
“It will not only reduce the legal hassles of both the parties in a long-drawn arbitration process but the money stuck in arbitral cases can be unlocked for revival of private sector," it said.
The statement comes a day after Nitin Gadkari said that reforms at NHAI were pending for long and must be carried out at the earliest. While the minister for road transport and highways did not spell out the details, he had said after a review of highway projects in January that delays in decision making will not be tolerated and promised to carry out a performance audit of government officials in the roads ministry and NHAI.
An official statement said that NHAI has rigorously started the process of conciliation by constituting three Conciliation Committees of Independent Experts (CCIE). These Conciliation Committees are being headed by retired officials from the judiciary, senior experts from public administration, finance and from private sector.
According to Arbitration Act, 2015 and its amendment in 2019, all the arbitration disputes are to be settled within 12-18 months.
“However, the possibility of resolution of claims within 12 months is very less, as it involves various procedures. At the same time, the conciliation route ensures amicable settlement of claims in faster, fairer and transparent manner," it said.
These conciliation committees are being headed by retired officials from the judiciary, senior experts from public administration, finance as well as from the private sector.