On our persistent request with Government of India and Ministry of Road Transport to resolve the issues related to bidding process, the Government decided to constitute a committee headed by Shri BK Chaturvedi, Member Planning Commission along with officials from Ministry of Road Transport, Ministry of Finance, NHAI. Most of the recommendations of BK Chaturvedi Committee have been approved and implemented by the Government.
The issue of Excise Duty exemption on Pre-cast items at the worksite was a long pending issue with the Government. The NHBF on its part took sustained efforts in resolving this issue by representing though various forums and the Government agreed to our request and restored the exemption with prospective effect.
The restriction of 5 or 6 bidders at the RFQ stage had been implemented by the Government on the basis of the recommendation of Planning Commission. NHBF on its part started working with various arms of the Government and piloted the process of consultation right up to the office of the PM. The Federation also filed a Writ Petition in the High Court of Delhi and before its final verdict; the Government removed this restriction much to the benefit of all our Members.
Pursuant to the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for revival of the Construction Sector, the NITI Aayog had issued OM No. 14070/14/2016- PPPAU dated 5th September 2016 titled “Measures to revive the Construction Sector – reg.” containing the decisions for implementation by all the concerned Ministries/ Departments / PSUs. As per the decision taken by the CCEA, cases where the Arbitration Tribunals have passed orders in favour of the Contractors/Concessionaires in arbitral proceedings and such awards/orders have been further challenged by the government agencies in courts of law, all the works executing agencies are required to pay an amount equal to 75% of the total pay-out (i.e. Arbitral Award amount including the interest payable as per such Award, if any ) should be released to the Contractors/Concessionaires against a Bank Guarantee without prejudice to the rights and stand of the Agency and subject to the final order of the court in the matter under challenge. The OM further stipulates that in case the matter under legal challenge is decided in favour of the works executing agency, it would be entitled to recover the said amount along with appropriate interest.
To ensure seamless implementation of the decision of Government of India for demonetization of currency notes in the denomination of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 not being valid legal tender w.e.f. 9th November, 2016, it was decided to suspend toll collection on National Highways (NHs) form 9th November, 2016 onwards till the mid-night of 2nd / 3rd December 2016. After protracted correspondence, now the Govt. has decided that the loss on account of the non-collection of toll during this period at the toll plazas on NHs across the country requires to be addressed as per the provisions in the respective concessionaire/Contract documents that define the engagement of Authority/ MoRTH with such entities.
This Society has been formed jointly by NHAI and NHBF and is now fully operationalised with the empanelment of around 250 arbitrators on the basis of recommendations from member companies and NHAI who are agreeable to follow the rules and regulation of SAROD. This Society is governed by a Governing Body consisting of equal number of members form NHAI & NHBF and has a full-fledged office with staff in the Ground Floor of NHAI, HQ. Additionally it has been decided by SAROD, Governing Body that Arbitration Meetings can also be held at nearby Welcome Hotel in Dwarka within the laid down parameters of venue costing. The fees for Arbitrators has been enhanced to @ Rs.50,000/- per hearing which is at par with NHAI Fee Schedule applicable to their Ad hoc Arbitrators.
NHBF is closely associated with this company which is managing the Electronic Toll Collection at Toll Plazas maintained by NHAI as well as by the Concessionaires. This activity will further enhance on Toll Plazas established by various State Governments on State Highway System. In addition, its responsibilities also include interaction with ECH, Establishment and Maintenance of Wayside Amenities and Corridor Plantation as a part of Green Highway System. Proper Dispute Resolution Mechanism has been introduced for our Concessionaires about their dues from Banks etc.
NHBF is also associated with Skill Development of workers employed in Highway sector. It has been decided by MoRT&H that IAHE would be the Nodal Agency for Skill Development in road sector. A total of 20,000 highways construction workers are to be trained in various trades at project sites, ITIs & IAHE and a stipend of Rs.15000/- per person, would be paid by Govt. to compensate for loss of wages during training period. Our members are providing support to CSDC for Industry Endorsements/Validation of various trades in Road Construction sector.
Vigorous efforts have been made with NHAI/MoRTH and Ministry of Finance to minimize the burden of new GST regime on the Road Sector. The GST rate has been reduced from 18% to 12% . Further the Annuity payments have also been exempted on the same lines as that of Toll. Due to our insistence, detailed Policy Circulars have been issued by NHAI laying down various procedures of GST payments.
While dealing with Govt Authorities the list of challenges can be never ending e.g. our fight, tooth & nail, about NHAI “Allged Dafaulters List” or the recent Pricing Mechanism of ETC Toll items and W.P.I Linking Factor thus, the obvious need for vigorous continuance of common platform to raise our concerns.