Highway concessionaires will have to pay a lot more attention, going forward, on improving users’ experience and maintaining the quality of the stretches to avoid being barred from bidding for the new stretches.
This is because the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will soon introduce a system of ranking of concessionaires based on their performance on various parameters including safety, frequency of accident on the stretch and the road and toll plaza management systems among scores others.
Anything less than the cut-off mark, which is yet to be decided, on these parameters will mean the bidding process to be out of bounds for the aspiring investor.
However, the under-achiever will have a chance to come clean and be eligible again to bid for new projects once it improves on the ranking in the next round of performance audit. The audit is done in every six months.
Every time a performance reassessment is done, the score of the concessionaire on various parameters will be handed out to the concessionaires and will be directed to improve upon the shortcomings. Only those eligible with scores above the cut-off mark will be allowed to bid for the new project.
“We are at an advanced stage of introducing the system of ranking concessioners based on their performance on various parameters. This will be applicable for all concessionaires irrespective of the mode it is being awarded,” said S S Sandhu, chairman, NHAI.
Sources said suitable amendments in the bidding documents will be incorporated to make a rating of the concessionaires as one of the qualification criteria for awarding new projects. This rating system will increase the accountability of vendors thereby improving the quality of highways.
In its endeavour to maintain quality standards in highway development, NHAI has been taking various steps to ensure concessionaires adhere to the standards during construction and maintenance of the projects. To deal with the lapses in highway development, NHAI has in the past acted tough on the defaulters by taking strict actions.
“Our top priority is to ensure the delivery of high-quality national highways. Any lapses in the matter shall not be tolerated. At the same time, good work shall be appreciated by all means,” Sandhu said.