India needs sound tunnel systems at strategic locations, and tunnel works worth over Rs 1 lakh crore will be undertaken in the next five years, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.
At the same time, competent players, whether small or big, need to be given opportunity and for this, there is a need to relax technical and financial bid parameters, he said.
"There is a need for tunnels in the country, especially at the strategic locations, to provide all-weather connectivity. In the next five years, we will undertake work worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore for tunnels," Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Gadkari said this after holding a round-table discussion with senior officials, stakeholders and industry players in a workshop on 'Underground Construction and Tunnelling' by Assocham and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.
The minister said the need of the hour is to reduce cost and improve quality and said departments cannot function in silos and need to work in a comprehensive manner.
"There is a need to relax technical and financial qualification for projects, including tunnels, to provide opportunity to small players also, as it has been seen that big players after getting the contract assign the same to small players who in absence of stringent parameters are unable to bid for the project," he said.
At the same time, he added that a policy will be put in place soon for project consultancy management as faulty detailed project reports (DPRs) had caused much damage to the highways sector.
He said national highways accounted for 40 per cent of the total 5 lakh accidents in India per annum in which 1.5 lakh people die and defective DPRs are one of the major reasons for faulty road designs. About strategic Zojila tunnel, he said its price will not increase.