The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has settled 60 conciliation cases for ₹4,076 crore in 2021-22 against ₹14,590 crore claimed by the concessionaires.

"The authority resolved these cases with a settlement amount that was about 28 percent of the total claimed amount. Last year, NHAI settled 60 cases for ₹5,313 crore against the claimed amount of ₹14,207 crore," said a release from the NHAI.

According to officials close to the development key cases include ₹2,205 crore worth claims by developer Oriental Structural Engineers Ltd for the Nagpur - Betul stretch was settled for ₹583 crore. Another key settlement included SP Jammu Udhampur Tollway Ltd's claim of ₹609 crore for ₹319 crore.

"In its endeavor for faster settlement of claims through conciliation and reduce liabilities, NHAI has rigorously started the process of conciliation by constituting three Conciliation Committees of Independent Experts (CCIE) of three members each," NHAI said.

These conciliation committees are being headed by retired officials from the judiciary, senior experts from public administration, finance and from private sector, it added.

"Till date, out of 251 cases that have been referred to CCIE, out of which 155 cases of claims by contractors and concessionaires worth ₹38,747 crores have been successfully settled for an amount of ₹13,067 crore," NHAI said.

To prevent escalation of disputes at an early stage, NHAI has also setup Dispute Resolution Board (DRB) which helps in getting firsthand information on site activities and resolving the dispute before it gets into a legal domain. "Under this mechanism, a three-member board is constituted who visit the project site as and when required or at least six times in a year. So far, 97 DRBs have been constituted to help solve disputes and mitigate issues pertaining to different projects," NHAI said

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