National Highways - Orphan Baby

Though NHAI Authority under National Highway Authority Act, 1988 has been mandated to develop, manage, maintain and operate National Highways to provide safe  drivning  to all under the National Highway Authority Act, relevant text of which is reproduced as under :-

An Act to provide for the constitution of an Authority for the development, maintenance and management of national highways and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto

Section 16 empowers the NHAI to:-

16. Functions of the Authority.— (1) Subject to the rules made by the Central Government in this behalf, it shall be the function of the Authority to develop, maintain and manage the national highways and any other highways vested in, or entrusted to, it by the Government.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in sub-section (1), the Authority may, for the discharge of its functions—

(a) survey, develop, maintain and manage highways vested in, or entrusted to, it; (b) construct offices or workshops and establish and maintain hotels, motels, restaurants and rest-rooms at or near the highways vested in, or entrusted to, it;

(c) construct residential buildings and townships for its employees;

(d) regulate and control the plying of vehicles on the highways vested in, or entrusted to, it for the proper management thereof;

(e) develop and provide consultancy and construction services in India and abroad and carry on research activities in relation to the development, maintenance and management of highways or any facilities thereat;

(f) provide such facilities and amenities for the users of the highways vested in, or entrusted to, it as are, in the opinion of the Authority, necessary for the smooth flow of traffic on such highways;

(g) form one or more companies under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) to further the efficient discharge of the functions imposed on it by this Act; 1

[(h) engage, or entrust any of its functions to, any person on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed;]

(i) advise the Central Government on matters relating to highways;

(j) assist, on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon, any State Government in the formulation and implementation of schemes for highway development;

(k) collect fees on behalf of the Central Government for services or benefits rendered under section 7 of the National Highways Act, 1956 (48 of 1956), as amended from time to time, and such other fees on behalf of the State Governments on such terms and conditions as may be specified by such State Governments; and

(l) take all such steps as may be necessary or convenient for, or may be incidental to, the exercise of any power or the discharge of any function conferred or imposed on it by this Act.

(3) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as— (a) authorising the disregard by the Authority of any law for the time being in force; or (b) authorising any person to institute any proceeding in respect of a duty or liability to which the Authority or its officers or other employees would not otherwise be subject under this Act

Today all of us pay toll on National Highways that are not only poorly maintained but also lack facilities. Unfortunately, the Concessionaires are also paid huge amount for mandatory greening on the both sides of the National Highway but also plantation of shrubs in the middle verge to keep these greens in order to prevent glare of headlights of vehicles from opposite direction.

However, what we find is that there is no green on Highways and middle verge are barren. This issue I took up with NGT in 2016 and the Senior Counsel of NHAI undertook that NHAI would implement the Highway Greening Policy in letter and spirit. 

Incidentally the accident Data received from NHAI Authorities is not only shocking but also stratling as to how thre NHAI could be so casual and careless in implementing its own mandate