Motor Act to be amended to facilitate project materials transport

Tiruchirapalli (TN): The heavy industry department plans to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to facilitate hassle-free transportation of massive project materials anywhere in the country, reports PTI quoting a top government official.

Talking to reporters, department of heavy industry secretary BS Meena said at present, companies like BHEL-which manufactures heavy and huge power plant equipment-face hurdles in the transportation of materials to sites for upcoming thermal and hydel projects.

The ministry had convened an interdisciplinary meeting recently to assess the difficulties and problems, Mr Meena said.

Strategic recommendations have been presented to the road transport ministry, National Highways Authority of India and others, enabling them to introduce certain amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act, he said.

He said the road transport ministry has extended its support to the proposal, but before tabling the Bill in Parliament, some state governments have to revise the regulations.

He noted that on some state government highway routes, materials of weight exceeding 50 tonnes are not allowed to ply and mega-sized hydraulic cranes are also disallowed in some important road sectors.

The amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act are expected to give much-needed relief to heavy industries in the country, enabling them to comply with the rigid delivery schedule for equipment required for various projects across the country.

The railways ministry has already sanctioned a single-window clearance system for power plant equipment, enabling companies like BHEL to mobilise materials without any delay and procedural wrangles, he said.

On an unrelated note, Mr Meena said the heavy industries department has taken up the revival of sick industry units on a war-footing. Since 2004 the Centre has identified 33 sick heavy industries, out of which the revival of 18 industries had been taken up, he said.

Hindustan Photo Films in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu was also included in the agenda, he said.

On the overall performance of heavy industries, Mr Meena said there were "grey areas" in the areas of textile machinery, high-end machine tools and mining equipment manufacturing.

He observed that there were no takers for machine tools manufactured by Indian companies, as private companies were loathe to invest on equipment that did not match up to global standards.

He said the ministry was examining proposals for establishing cluster-backed common facility centres, financial or strategic support for implementing new technologies, programmes to bridge the skill gap faced by industry and ensuring results from R&D projects.

In this regard, the Planning Commission had already given the nod for setting up common facility centres for the industry to collaborate on various initiatives and pending clearance from other ministries, the concept will hopefully crystallise in the next six months, he said.

He said the centres will come up through private and public investment on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis.

Mr Meena, who visited the BHEL complex here, said, "Days are not far off when BHEL Trichy Complex will clinch an annual turnover of Rs20,000 crore."

In the year 2009-10, BHEL Trichy clocked a turnover of Rs10,008 crore, translating into year-on-year growth of over 35%.

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