Economy

Kerala PWD told to prepare annual rates calendar in time

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on November 19, 2011 Published on November 19, 2011

The Member of State Planning Board, Mr G. Vijaya Raghavan, has asked the State PWD to roll out a calendar on annual review of scheduled rates that ‘works to clock-like precision.'

The department must ensure that the revised schedule is made available at April 1, and by no means later than April 15, he said while addressing officials and engineers at the ongoing Infrastructure Congress-2011here.

AVOIDING IRRITANTS

The ‘predetermined' rates could go a long way in preventing stoppage of works due to litigation and related predictable irritants, Mr Vijaya Raghavan said.

A cardinal rule of the game is that no tender should be finalised before land is acquired, although associated delay might lead to escalation of costs. The cost of such delay also needs to be properly accounted for.

Design of roads and quality of construction must increasingly engage engineers' attention.

It is ideal that separate groups work on these issues. But they should work on the basis of peer review.

It is also necessary that engineers understand best practices in the field of their activity as also required technological support.

He took exception to the oft-repeated instances of local officials finding their way into international consultancies to which work is contracted/sub-contracted.

“This goes to defeat the very purpose of being able to access international technology and best practices. We must ensure that there is no conflict of interests here,” he said.

The Planning Board Member said that the State Government must prepare a master plan for the road/transportation sector.

The master plan must encompass air, rail, inland water and surface modes of transport. The State PWD must initiate work on the master plan.

DMIC MODEL

Mr Vijaya Raghavan cited the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project that envisages six greenfield integrated townships to come up along side.

There is also a felt need for delegation of authority in the department. This could bring about a badly needed reduction in the work load of top officials who have been reduced to being file pushers and hardly find time to conduct inspections.

The time has come for PWD to reinvent itself with a focus on ensuring road quality and safety, timely revision of rate schedule and identifying innovative funding programmes, among others.

On the quality front, Mr Vijaya Raghavan said that accountability should be fixed.

TANSANIAN MODEL

He cited a Tanzanian model of spreading the risk thin by assigning small parcels of road-lengths to individuals with an enabling budget.

They would be incentivised for attending to the earliest sign of weathering of the road through timely maintenance, in turn avoiding heavy overheads.

Keralites should also learn to don't say no to toll, he said, while referring to the funding options available.

There are other innovative modes of finance ranging from fuel surcharge and road tax, or a combination of all.

The thought process has to change, and this involves pain. “Some pain has to be endured if only to ensure that the next generation doesn't blame us for what happened during our time,” he said.

















Published on November 19, 2011
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