Indian National Highways

Challenges of Current Project Management Structure of MOT – Project Development Stage

  • There are layers of management between the client and project. There are three organizations – MOT, PWD and Contractor Agency. MOT and PWD organisations are bureaucratic and no single official is fully responsible for the projects. This makes decision making difficult and may delay the project schedule.
  • The ministry of transport conducted the development of the project and gave execution to public works department which included supervision and quality control over works done. There was no direct control exercised by the project chief engineer (MOT) over state chief engineer (PWD). The project chief engineer (MOT) could only persuade the matter. The quality control procedures were independently structured by PWD and may not be fully in conformance with MOT requirements.
  • Cross-functional teaming was not possible and hence no team spirit when a project was undertaken.
  • Because the MOT is responsible to provide support to executing organization such as land acquisition, environmental clearance, relocation of facilities on construction site, before contractor can begin the works, any delay by the MOT in signing off this work risks the project falling behind the schedule.
  • The project chief engineer (MOT) also has functional responsibility to provide reports to the Parliament. This in itself is very much time-bound and becomes a priority because the delay is almost inevitable. Hence, the project lacks focus, and drifts.
  • The projects have a strong social benefit focus. Every project is selected by considering Marginal Social Benefit/Marginal Social Cost ratio. SIRR (Social Internal Rate of Return) > interest rate or cost of capital needs to be satisfied in project selection.
  • The delays in decision making at various levels of MOT structure causes cost overruns as material and labour prices change very frequently due to instable market economy of India. Suppliers can change prices and disagree to supply at the original agreed prices as per contract. This is identified as a major risk in the projects undertaken by MOT.
  • The projects also experience contractual disputes between state PWD and contractor agency. The chief engineer, MOT provides supporting staff to initiate a meeting with all parties concerned and resolve the dispute.
  • MOT is a functional organisation with project focus. The workforce is highly educated in technical areas, however lacks Management expertise.

Challenges of Current Project Management Structure at State PWD – Project Execution Stage

  • Immediate project management at PWD needs support from MOT regarding availability of the works site free from obstructions. The removal and cutting of trees is done by ministry of environment and forests. PWD has no influence on the ministry of environment and so delays here halt the whole project.
  • The removal and relocation of utility services like electric transmission lines, poles, water pipes and sewerage involves local bodies and often delays occur in finalizing the design, re-location plan and cost estimation. Approval from local bodies can be time consuming.
  • PWD may find scope and specifications needs to be changed in the light of local conditions. These changes need to be authorised by the client organization. This initiates a design re-consideration, investigations and field surveys. But as the PWD has no authority to change the scope of the projects, there is more delay in decision making and the works stop at the site.
  • Lack of feedback regarding issues of quality to MOT. Contracts include clauses for feedback from PWD and Contractor Agency.

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