New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla appreciated the achievements made in the highways infrastructure sector in the last few years and expressed the hope that India will achieve new heights in the future.
He was speaking at a “National Highways Excellence Awards (NHEA) 2021” ceremony, organized by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital this evening. The event was being organized under the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. This year, the theme of the awards was “Innovation and Excellence in Road Construction”.
The Lok Sabha Speaker said the awards will inspire and infuse energy into the engineers and workers involved in highway construction. He talked about the steps taken by the Ministry in introducing new technologies and resolving stuck projects.
“The Ministry has done a lot of good work in toll management, highway and tunnel construction, and infrastructure with green highways. Nitin Gadkari has restored many stalled projects. The ministry has worked with a vision. We will achieve even more new records in road connectivity in the days to come,” he said.
Highlighting the achievements of the Ministry in developing the highway infrastructure in the country, Union RT&H Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari said his Ministry is committed to ensuring good quality highways for the people. “I am confident that by 2024, the standard of the National Highways in India will that be of the US,” he said.
“We are improving road quality and also promoting new talent. But we should also think about water conservation,” Shri Gadkari said.
Addressing the gathering, Minister of State(RT&H) and Civil AviationGeneral (Dr) V.K. Singh said: “The objective of giving awards is to appreciate and reward those who have done well in terms of constructing good highways. This will motivate those who may not have got the award but they will definitely get the motivation to do better.” He said the speed with which the road sector has gained momentum in the last few years is an example of anything that can be achieved with hard work and innovation.
Secretary RT&H Shri GiridharAramane explained the measures taken by the Ministry for the adoption of new technologies in order to ensure improvement in the quality of highways. Developers are being encouraged to use new innovative technologies and designs, he added.
Earlier in the morning, Shri Aramane inaugurated the awards ceremony. Setting the tone for the event, he called upon the engineers to use innovative practices in order to ensure excellence in highway construction.
There were panel discussions, chaired by senior officials and sector experts. There was a panel discussion on “Frontiers in road safety”, which was attended by NHAI Chairperson Smt Alka Upadhyaya, former Director CSIR-CRRI Dr SubhamayGangopadhyay and others. ADG (Nodal) MORTH S.K. Nirmal chaired a panel discussion on “Innovative Technology and Practices, which was moderated by Director New Technology for Highway Development Bidur Kant Jha.
There were also panel discussions on “Innovative Technologies for Slope Stabilization in Hill Roads”, “Design of Special Structures”, “Innovative Pavement Materials”, and “Design of Road and Geotechnical Engineering – The International Perspective” and “Innovations in Geospatial Technology”.
During the ceremony, awards were presented to the concessionaire/contractors working exceptionally well in the construction, operations & maintenance, innovation, greenery, tolling stages of highway development as well as in the arena of road safety for the 2021 award cycle.
As many as 122 nominations were received, out of which 89 were found to be valid. Out of this, 58 nominations were shortlisted. A total of 37 nominations were selected for Field Assessment. Finally, a Jury headed by CEO Niti Aayog Amitabh Kant and consisting of former Secretary Govt of India K.C. Mishra, former DG Roads & Special Secretary A.V. Sinha and Vice President Corporate Affairs, Ola Electric Mobility Pvt Ltd B.C. Datta selected 13 nominations for the awards.
Top officials of MORTH, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) and automobile companies and other stakeholders were present on the occasion. Some of the dignitaries who attended the function include Smt Leena Nandan, Secretary Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor MORTH Sanjay Kumar, Additional Secretary MORTH Amit Kumar Ghosh, NHAI Chairperson Smt. Alka Upadhyay. Member NHAI (Projects) RK Pande, Member NHAI (Projects) Manoj Kumar, Member NHAI (Technical) Mahavir Singh, Joint Secretaries (MORTH) Amit Varadan, Kamlesh Chaturvedi, S.P. Singh, Mahmood Ahmed, besides more than 400 officials from MORTH, NHAI, NHIDCL. A large number of participants including concessionaires, developers, contractors, academicians and representatives of NGOs were present.
MoRTH instituted NHEA in 2018 with an aim to incentivize the key stakeholders and to create a spirit of healthy competition amongst all the stakeholders involved in the development of highway infrastructure in the country. This is part of the larger objective of strengthening the road infrastructure in the country, which is a top priority of the Government of India.