Road Widening On Delhi-Haryana Border: Arbitration Tribunal Asks NHAI To Pay Rs 750 Crore
An arbitration tribunal has asked the National Highways Authority of India to pay over Rs 750 crore to a project developer for a work related to widening of a highway on the Delhi-Haryana border, saying it has been acting "arbitrary" and its approach has been "detrimental to the project".
The final award was pronounced by a bench comprising Justice N Kumar (retired), Justice Anil Kumar (retired) and Lt Gen YP Khurana.
The project developer, West Haryana Highways Projects Pvt Ltd., a consortium of Karam Chand Thapar and Bros and Era Infra Engineering, had won the project in 2007.
The NHAI floated a tender on Feb. 14, 2007, for design, engineering, finance, operation and maintenance of Delhi-Haryana border to Rohtak section of NH 10 from 29 kilometres to 87 km including construction of Bahadurgarh and Rohtak by passes in Haryana under National Highway Development Project phase III-A on build-operate-and-transfer basis.
"In terms of concession agreement, NHAI had to provide a right of way to the project site to the claimant. It is a condition precedent before the claimant could have executed the work at the site of the project. The respondent was duty bound to hand over peaceful, unencumbered and vacant possession of the project site to the claimant. Since inception, the NHAI has failed to abide itself to the terms of the concession agreement," the project developer said.
It said the land made available was not continuous and consequently caused serious setback to it as all the machines, human resources and raw materials had to be mobilised from one end of the available land to the other and thereby levying additional cost.
Although the traffic on the road was plying since 2012-13, NHAI declared the provisional completion only in November 2015, the project developer alleged.
The tribunal in its order said, "The opposite party (NHAI) has failed to to complete the six/four landing of the project highway due to their own faults, acts and omissions to provide adequate manpower, machinery and other resources and therefore it is liable to pay damages."
It said, "The respondent (NHAI) since inception of the project has not been complying with the terms of the concession agreement. The respondent has been acting arbitrary and their approach has been detrimental to the project. The approach of the respondent have been trying to raise disputes between the parties."
NHAI had also made counter-claims of over Rs 600 crore on the highway developer saying that the project developer should have been aware of the problems while bidding for the project and it should pay Rs 500 crore for causing inconvenience to the public.
West Haryana Highways Projects Pvt Ltd. was represented by Singh and Associates, lead by its founding partner and lawyer Manoj K Singh.
Speaking about the case, Singh said,"this matter is one of the biggest arbitration award against NHAI in the road sector. NHAI not only delayed the fulfilment of its conditions, even breached the various terms of the concession agreement, which has a material adverse effect on the project."