NHAI Current Affairs - 2020

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India’s first pod taxi to follow US safety norms

The five-member committee set up for technical and safety standards of India’s first pod taxi project or Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) has invited fresh bids for strictest safety standards on lines of those prescribed in US.

In this regard, the committee has recommended issuance of fresh EOI (expression of interest) incorporating automated people mover (APM) standards and specifications in US, along with other general safety parameters with recommendations of NITI Aayog.

Key Facts

The pilot project will be taken up on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis i.e. on PPP (public-private partnership) basis. It is meant for a 12.3-km stretch from Delhi-Haryana border on NH 8 (near Ambience Mall) to Badshahpur via Rajiv Chowk, IFFCO and Sohna Road. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been mandated to execute this project. The model is in place in London’s Heathrow airport, Morgantown and Masdar city. Earlier, three global companies were picked during initial bids for this project.

Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

PRT or pod taxi is an advanced public transport using automated electric pod cars to provide taxi-like demand responsive feeder and shuttle services for small groups of travellers. It is a green mode of uninterrupted transportation.

APM standards in US

The automated people mover (APM) standards in US as recommended by the committee for maiden PRT in India have been prepared by American Society of Civil Engineers. These recommendations constitute minimum requirements for acceptable level of safety and performance for the PRT.

The APM standards include minimum requirements for design, operation, construction and maintenance of various sub-systems of APM system and are in general relevant for a PRT. These include vehicle arrival audio and video visual warning system, evacuation of misalighted vehicles, platform sloping, audio communication, surveillance/CCTV, emergency call points and fire protection, among other advanced systems.

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NHAI creates National Highways Investment Promotion Cell

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has created National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC) for attracting domestic and foreign investment for highways projects.

The cell will focus on engaging with global institution investors, developers, construction companies and fund managers for building investor participation in road infrastructure projects.

Key Facts

NHIPC’s primary focus will be to promote foreign and domestic investment in road infrastructure. It will work in close co-ordination with various connected Ministries and Departments of Central Government, State Governments, Apex Business Chambers like FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM, and InvestIndia etc. It will also work in close co-ordination with Foreign Embassies and Missions in India and Indian Embassies and Missions situated in foreign countries.

Background

The government has set an ambitious target of construction of 35,000 km of national highways in next 5 years involving an investment of Rs 5,35,000 crore under Bharatmala. The Bharatmala is aimed at speeding up cargo movement and development of multimodal logistics hubs and parks on periphery of major commercial centres.

It will include economic corridors (9,000 km), inter-corridor and feeder route (6,000 km), national corridors efficiency improvement (5,000 km), border roads and international connectivity (2,000 km), coastal roads and port connectivity (2,000 km) and greenfield expressways (800 km).

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)

NHAI is an autonomous agency of the Union Government, responsible for management of a network of over 70,000 km of national highways in India. It was established through National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988. In February 1995, it was formally made an autonomous body. It is a nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. It is responsible for the development, management, operation and maintenance of National Highways.

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