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Lack of robust road connectivity to ports major bottleneck for shipping sector

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NEW DELHI : Asserting that lack of robust road connectivity to ports is one of the major bottlenecks faced by the shipping sector in India, a parliamentary panel has expressed concern over slow progress of port connectivity roads under Bharatmala Pariyojana.

The panel also expressed concern over various hindrances being faced in the filling up of vacancies in National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

It noted that even though the initially targeted date of completion of Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I was 2021-22, only 168 km of the port connectivity roads have been awarded while the rest 2,105 km are in various stages of detailed project report (DPR) preparation.

”The Committee strongly recommends that the Ministry should take a serious look at the various factors impeding the award of these road projects and take urgent steps and undertake dedicated efforts to iron out the same to bolster the growth of the shipping sector in the country,” the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture said in a report.

The panel also said it is deeply concerned to note the extremely slow progress of works under development of port connectivity roads as a part of Bharatmala Pariyojana.

On manpower situation in NHAI, the panel said it is distressed to note that the total manpower working in NHAI, including both regular officials and those on deputation, as on March 31, 2021 is just 1,122 out of the total sanctioned strength of 1,892.

”The committee is of the strong view that given the huge financial allocation made to NHAI each year, it is pertinent to ensure that sufficient manpower is in place so as to make optimal utilization of the available funds,” it said.

It recommended that the ongoing comprehensive review of existing recruitment rules of NHAI may be finalized at the earliest and sincere efforts may be made to ensure that the present vacancies in NHAI are filled up at the earliest.

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