Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has released a sum of Rupees 10,339 crores under the simplified payment process as was put in the guidelines by the Aatm-Nirbhar Bharat Scheme. An additional sum of Rupees 2475 is under process and is expected to be released. This is an example of how the govt has taken various steps to promote ease of doing business and also to give a boost to the confidence of the stakeholders in the country’s capability to build good quality road infrastructure.
Under the Aatm-Nirbhar Bharat scheme, payment has been simplified and changes have been made to contractual payments, which are being made on a monthly basis instead of the earlier milestone achievement basis. This has resulted in earlier deliveries by constructors of National Highways of the country.
During these tough times, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry has released a number of relief packages for contractors. Retention money is being released on the basis of the work already done by the contractors upto the contract specification and retention money is not being deducted upto six months from the bills raised. Performance guarantee is released on a pro-rata basis for HAM/BOT contracts. Rupees 3527 crores have been released for this relief on 1253 applications under 1155 projects, while Rupees 189 crore is still processing.
Relaxation has been given in Schedule H to provide monthly payment under EPC/HAM contract to the contractor for the work completed and according to the specifications of the contract. For the 774 projects with 863 applications for this relief, Rupees 6526 crore has been released whereas Rupees 2241 is in processing.
Payment is being made directly to approved subcontractor through Escrow account. For 21 applications under 19 projects for this relief, Rupees 241 crore has been released, and over Rupees 27 crore is processing.
Time extension of up to 6 months is being given to contractors to meet their deliveries according to contract depending on conditions of the site. Of 207 applications under 196 projects for this relief, Rupees 34 crore has been released while Rupees 15 crore is under process for now. Incase of penalty of delay in submission of performance security or bank guarantee, the amount is being waived from contracts starting march 2020 upto september 2020. Of the 17 applications under the same number of projects, Rupees 9 crore has been released.
Time can be extended for consultants I.E/A.E for upto 3 to 6 months depending on site condition. Due to this force Majeure, consideration will be made as they were on duty. 31 applications under the same number of projects has got a relief of 2 crore rupees and another crore is under processing.
The concession period of BOT contracts is being extended by 2-6 months, before CoD. Incase of loss in collection fee the period is extended depending upon the contract till the time daily collection is under 90% of average daily fee. The application for 2 crores under this is processing.
Losses in collection fee for National Highway tolling contracts are compensated depending upon contract, an application is under consideration. The Ministry has taken up several issues to be solved such as contractor complaints, dues via arbitration. Conciliation committee of Independent Experts has been formed for this purpose. Contractors are being called in accordance to their claims with payments being released immediately. Rupees 14,248 crores owing to 47 such cases have been settles this year, while another 59 cases are under discussion.
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