Punjab wants to allow contractors to import bitumen

October 8th, 2008 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Oct 8 (IANS) Concerned over the recent hike in prices of bitumen in the domestic market, which is making road construction projects in Punjab financially unviable, the state’s public works department (PWD) is contemplating allowing road contractors to import bitumen.PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa Wednesday constituted a high-level committee of chief engineers to study the issue and draw terms and quality control measures for the import of bitumen by the contractors. He directed officials that the issue should be worked out without compromising the quality of road construction.

Several hundreds of kilometres of road construction projects in the state have been affected and delayed due to repeated increase in price of bitumen in the domestic market. The price has increased due to the rising prices of crude in the international market.

Dhindsa was told by engineers that due to rising price of bitumen, the cost of construction of one kilometre road laying had risen at the rate of Rs.400,000 every fortnight since the last four months, making most of the projects unviable.

Officials said build-operate-transfer (BOT) companies were using imported bitumen as its cost, Rs.3,000-Rs.4,000 per tonne, was less than domestic bitumen.

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