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LESSONS:

East-West Corridor Project

sector: Transport | country: India

The project was the third loan under ADB’s multi-year lending program to the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) and the first loan for the east-west corridor. Some lessons were learned during project implementation that can be applied to ongoing and future ADB projects in India.

Land acquisition and resettlement. The initial delay in project implementation was primarily caused by slow procurement, land acquisition, and resettlement activities. This is a common issue for all projects in India. Project implementation also experienced prolonged delays in clearance for cutting of trees. For ADB-funded projects, such constraints are now being addressed through a project readiness checklist and training and capacity building programs for the executing agencies. This will ensure that preconstruction activities are carried out in advance and only well-prepared projects are taken up for approval.

Project preparation and readiness. The construction of Surajbari Bridge encountered engineering problems, which significantly delayed project completion. Wherever required, a separate contract for such major bridges should be made, so that only qualified contractors are awarded the contracts for such specialized works. A thorough survey, investigation, and design should be carried out in initial stages in order to enhance project readiness. Such critical works should be started immediately upon the award of contract. An action plan for mitigating risks and resolving emergencies should be prepared and implemented, as required, for timely completion of the project.

Performance of the Contractors. During implementation, significant delay in the completion of the contract was caused by poor performance of a joint venture contractor, who was awarded three contract packages. For future projects, the criteria for qualification of the contractors under a joint venture, and for the award of multiple contracts, should be strengthened. The contractual provisions related to contractor performance, such as mobilization, staffing, and deployment of equipment and funds, need to be strengthened so that poor performance by the contractor is discouraged.

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