SPEED CAN SAVE

The highway developers’ lobby has urged the National Highways Authority of India’s new chairman to fast-track resolution of pending disputes. Speedy resolution of such cases, stuck in various courts as well as arbitration tribunals, is expected to help companies such as Essar, Gammon India, HCC and L&T unlock more than Rs 10,000 crore.

As many as 536 disputes relating to highway development projects are pending in courts. A further 1,099 cases are in arbitration tribunals.

The amounts under dispute range from less than Rs 1 crore to Rs 69 crore in courts; and from less than Rs 1 crore to nearly Rs 1,515 crore under various arbitration tribunals.

“We have met the new NHAI Chairman, Mr R. P. Singh, and requested him to consider these cases,” said Mr M. Murali, Director-General, National Highways Builders’ Federation, the developers’ lobby.

PM’s push

With the Prime Minister trying to push the infrastructure agenda, the developers’ lobby is hoping for quicker decision-making by the NHAI, a move that will help free these funds for use in other projects.

Recently, a committee headed by Mr Mukul Mudgal, retired Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had recommended 10-12 such cases for the NHAI’s consideration. The committee was set up in November last year by the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Mr C. P. Joshi, to speed up the settlement of cases under arbitration. The former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr I. P. Singh; former Central Vigilance Commissioner, Mr V. S. Mathur; and former Director-General (Roads), Mr A.V. Sinha, are the other members on this panel.

mamuni@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 1, 2012)
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