The state-owned builder of expressways under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has gone fully digital, with the launch of unique cloud-based and artificial intelligence (AI) powered big data analytics platform, Data Lake and Project Management Software.
With this, the entire project management workflow of NHAI is transformed from manual to the online portal based, wherein the complete project execution operations including ‘workflow with timelines’ and ‘alert mechanism’ have been configured. All project documentation, contractual decisions and approvals are now being done through the portal.
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 the financial impact of different alternatives based on the historical data. This is expected to reduce a lot of disputes.
NHAI has a history of having a large number of arbitration cases pending with huge amounts of claims and counterclaims. The majority of the disputes are 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. These disputes can be minimised 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 the future.
The complete project documents and correspondences will be stored in digital format in the cloud-based Data Lake linked with geographic information system (GIS) tagging and unique project ID, so that the project data can be easily retrieved as and when required from any location. NHAI’s all contractors, concessionaires, consultants, authority engineers (AE), independent engineers (IE), project directors (PDs) and regional officers (ROs) have already started using it extensively. NHAI’s e-Office module is also integrated into the system so that all correspondences can seamlessly flow from field units to headquarters in a secured manner.