National Highway Authority goes fully digital in Covid-19 times

National Highway Authority goes fully digital in Covid-19 times

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has become ‘fully digital’, with the launch of a unique cloud-based and artificial intelligence powered big data analytics platform called Data Lake and Project Management Software.

With this the entire project management work flow of NHAI, which comes under, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has been transformed from manual to online portal-based, wherein the complete project execution operations including ‘workflow with time lines’ and ‘alert mechanism’ have been configured.

According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Friday, all project documentation, contractual decisions and approvals pertaining to NHAI are now being done only through the portal.

It added that in the current Covid-19 pandemic scenario, when most of the organisations are facing serious challenges in working, NHAI employees are continuing their works undeterred and smoothly without any fear of physical contacts and touching of physical files. In fact, the lockdown period was used by NHAI to train its employees about using Data Lake.

With advance analytics, the Data Lake software will forecast the delays, likely disputes and will give advance alerts. Thus apart from expediting the decision making, it will also facilitate in taking correct and timely decisions as the system is likely to predict financial impacts of different alternatives based on the historical data. This will reduce a lot of disputes.

NHAI has a history of having a number of arbitration cases pending with huge amounts of claims and counterclaims. Majority of the disputes have always been generic in nature like delay in handing over of encumbrance free site, shifting of utilities, idling charges of plant, machinery, equipment, manpower and delay in decisions, etc.

These disputes can be minimized as the Data Lake software has provisions to keep track and check on all these constraints and will ensure work is carried out within the deadlines in a transparent manner. As all processes are going to be portal-based, decision-making is going to be faster and will eventually diminish chances of litigation in future.

The complete project documents and correspondences will be stored in a digital format in the cloud-based Data Lake linked with GIS tagging and unique project ID, so that the project data can be easily retrieved as and when required from any location.

All NHAI contractors, concessionaires, consultants, authority engineers (AE), independent engineers (IE) and project directors (PDs)/ regional officers (ROs) have already started using it extensively.

NHAI’s e-office module is also integrated in the system so that all correspondences can flow digitally in a secured manner from field units to HQ seamlessly.

The Data Lake will bring revolutionary changes to NHAI with benefits like no delays, quick decision making, no question of missing records, work from anywhere/anytime. It will enhance transparency, as all officers and stakeholders connected with the project can see what is going on a real time basis which will amount to concurrent performance audit by the seniors.