Punjab govt to allow import of bitumen by contractors

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Chandigarh, Oct 8 (UNI) Concerened over the repeated hike in the price of domestic bitumen, the Punjab Government is likely to allow private contractors to import bitumen.

The import decision is likely to be taken soon, as the rising prices of domestic bitumen had affected the progress of the ongoing road construction projects in the state.

However after giving the go ahead to the import of bitumen, the government would direct the PWD to keep a close watch on the quality of the roads under cinstruction.

Official sources while confirming this move said here that PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa today constituted a high level committee of Chief Engineers to study the whole issue and draw terms and quality control measures for the import of bitumen by the contractors.

It was observed in the meeting that bitumen prices were being raised every fortnight and this was disturbing the cost estimates of road construction projects under execution. It was informed in the meeting that due to rising price of bitumen, cost of construction of one kilometer road was rising at the rate of Rs four lakh every fortnight, making most of the projects unviable.

The Minister pointed out that repeated enhancement of project cost was delaying most of the road projects.

It was also informed in the meeting that most of the private construction companies involved in Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) road projects were using imported bitumen as its cost was Rs 3000-4000 per tonne less than domestic bitumen. The Minister asked the Chief Engineers to draw strict quality control measures so that quality of the road projects was not compromised.

Mr Kulbir Singh, Secretary PWD (B&R) and all Chief Engineers of PWD (B&R) participated in the meeting.

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