Aiming to spice up highway sector, NHAI drive appears to be like to settle disputes with contractors

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Written by Avishek G Dastidar
| New Delhi |

November 27, 2020 3:16:43 am

The NHAI has fashioned a three-member Dispute Resolution Board for tasks whereby contractors can go inside 90 days of the arising of a possible dispute and get a verdict instantly.The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will quickly start a drive to settle with its contractors all present disputes — value Rs 70,000 crore and caught at varied ranges of arbitration for years — inside weeks and save round Rs 50,000 crore in potential payout, giving a fillip to the highway development business.
Contractors have on varied events taken disputes to the out there fora over time, searching for claims from the nation’s premier highways maker via clauses of the contract. Arbitration and litigation in such circumstances usually take years, and likewise preserve that a lot liquidity notionally tied up. The NHAI has determined to reach out to all such contractors—massive and small gamers—to settle the disputes “amicably”, and hopefully inside a number of weeks.
“Around Rs 70,000 crore is stuck in arbitration claims. Although much of that is exaggerated claim, we believe something in the range of Rs 20,000 crore will happen. Through courts and arbitration they will take five to 10 years to get that money. So, we are asking all contractors to come to our conciliation committees instead, through which they get the money within three-four weeks. So companies get that much liquidity, early,” Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, Chairman, NHAI, instructed The Indian Express. “We are going to start a drive.”
The move is aimed toward giving thrust to the tempo of highways development within the nation, which the NDA authorities has highlighted as one of many main infrastructure sectors to deliver traction again into the post-Covid restoration of the economic system. The NHAI has this 12 months awarded contracts for 60 tasks with capital price of round Rs 70,000 crore thus far for a size of 1,790 km — highest previously three years.
The Authority has fashioned three Conciliation Committees of Independent Experts (CCIE) of three members every. The CCIE is headed by retired officers from judiciary, moreover consultants from public administration and finance and personal sectors.
Till now, 131 disputes have been referred to those CCIEs and 59 circumstances, initially value Rs 15,678 crore, have been efficiently settled for Rs 5,480 crore, giving the NHAI the concept for the drive.
“I am inviting every contractor whether they have gone to the High Courts or the Supreme Court, come to the conciliation and take the money. It will happen on mutual consent, amicably,” Sandhu mentioned.
As per Arbitration Act, 2015, all of the arbitration are to be settled inside 12-18 months. However, that seldom occurs and such arbitration goes on for years. In the conciliation route, the NHAI and the contractor take the view of unbiased consultants and thru consent agree on a settlement, inside weeks.
The NHAI has fashioned a three-member Dispute Resolution Board for tasks whereby contractors can go inside 90 days of the arising of a possible dispute and get a verdict instantly.
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