The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure has approved the maintenance of national highways based on the Operate, Maintain and Transfer (OMT) mode. This is expected to lead to better maintenance and hence smoother and more efficient flow of traffic on national highways. The OMT model is similar to the BOT model except that OMT does not require the concessionaire to construct the highway which is the case in the BOT model.
Presently maintenance and toll contractors are appointed on an annual basis for highways through bidding. User fees are collected through different agencies, and are deposited in a consolidated fund. Overall it is a time consuming exercise but there is no assurance about the quality of maintenance the roads. Unlike this, in the OMT model, the concessionaire takes charge of the maintenance for a fixed concession period which ranges from four to nine years. This includes undertaking periodic as well as annual maintenance works, traffic incident management and ensuring smooth traffic. For revenue generation the concessionaire can levy and collect user fees from road users, after issuing a notification to the effect in the government gazette. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways or the National Highways Authority of India will award the OMT contracts. The Ministry has already approved a model concession agreement for the OMT operations.