Firms preparing highway plan reports have to take govt training: Ministry


The highways ministry will make private consultancy firms that prepare detailed project reports (DPRs) undergo compulsory training, responding amid concerns about road safety due to poor planning.

All personnel engaged in DPRs for highway projects by consultancy firms must undertake the course “Preparation of feasibility study and DPR for highway projects” offered by the Indian Academy of Highway Engineers, said the ministry.

Nitin Gadkari, minister for and highways, said recently the way DPRs are prepared is not up to global standards and poor planning is a major reason for fatal road accidents in India.

“Every year, five lakh road accidents take place in the country, which claim the lives of more than 1.50 lakh people. It is only because of the mistakes made in the detailed project reports by consultants. Most DPRs are very conservative,” he said at a recent event, reiterating a view he expressed in Parliament before.

Gadkari has said that the DPR-making process needs an overhaul. Infrastructure projects require a DPR and a feasibility study before they are sanctioned and commissioned. DPRs contain crucial data points such as proposed alignment, use of technology, and cost estimates.

The ministry, in January, also mandated courses on several infrastructure capacity aspects, such as safety and bridge/road failure and collapse for key personnel engaged by these consultancies, citing inadequate capacity. DPRs are mostly made by consultancy firms.

According to the ministry’s order, any person fielded as team leader in a DPR consultancy assignment for which bids are submitted on or after April 1, 2023 must have satisfactorily completed such training course to be eligible for further evaluation.

India has the highest number of road accidents and deaths, according to the ministry’s estimates. Poor planning became a headline point when monsoon rains caused highway infrastructure in many cities to collapse with road damage and waterlogging.

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