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Govt working on policy to make national highways pothole free by year-end: Gadkari

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NEW DELHI: The government is working on a policy to ensure that there are no potholes on national highways by year-end and construction of roads on Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) mode is being preferred as such projects are maintained in a better manner, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.

With an aim to make the national highways free of potholes by the end of December this year, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry is firming up performance-based maintenance and short-term maintenance contracts.

Generally, road construction is done through three modes — BOT, Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), and Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM).

“The roads which are constructed under the EPC mode require maintenance quite early whereas under the BOT mode, roads are better constructed as the contractor knows that he will have to bear the cost of maintenance for the next 15-20 years.

“That is why we have decided for construction of roads under the BOT mode in a big way,” the Road Transport and Highways Minister said at a media briefing on various initiatives of his ministry.

Noting that rains can cause damage to highways resulting in potholes, Gadkari said the ministry is doing a safety audit of national highways.

A policy is being made to ensure the national highways are free of potholes and young engineers will be roped in to make the project a success, he said.

Road Transport and Highways Secretary Anurag Jain said the ministry has done the mapping of the entire national highways length of 1,46,000 kilometres and is firming up performance-based maintenance and short-term maintenance contracts to remove potholes by December this year.

In BOT projects, private investors take the risk of financing, building and operating highway projects over a concession period of 20-30 years. The developers then recover the investments through user charges or tolls.

In EPC projects, the government pays the developer for constructing the highway while the toll revenues accrue to the government. (PTI)

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