Bid to widen highway begins

August 4, 2008

Ranchi, Aug. 1: National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has set the ball rolling for the four-laning of Hazaribagh-Ranchi stretch of NH-33, considered to be the lifeline of Jharkhand.

NHAI, which functions under the Union ministry of road transport and highways, has invited a global expression of interest (called request for qualification in technical parlance) from construction majors. The last date to respond is August 29.

“It would be a 75km stretch of NH-33 costing around Rs 600 crore. The tenders would be on build, operate, transfer (BOT) annuity basis,” said H.C. Arora, the chief general manager of NHAI, who looks after projects in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi.

This would be the third time that NHAI has invited tenders for the same stretch.

Earlier, two efforts to finalise the project through BOT-toll basis proved futile with no parties responding to pre-qualification bids apparently due to Naxalism and law and order problems in the state. Under BOT-toll, the contractors awarded works are supposed to invest the entire project cost and realise the same by collecting toll taxes for the next 30 years or so.

Under the annuity basis, although the construction company would invest the entire project cost, a fixed annual sum as annuity from the government would ensure that the former gets back its invested money.

In a related development, the ministry is contemplating to turn the 150-km stretch of NH-33 between Ranchi and Jamshedpur into a single package. Earlier, the stretch was divided into two packages — one between Ranchi and Rargaon and the other between Rargaon and Mohulia.

Arora added that the NHAI would soon invite expressions of interest for the Ranchi-Jamshedpur stretch, too.

The ministry was in favour of inviting the tenders on BOT-toll basis. The overall cost of the project would be around Rs 1,300-1,400 crore.

The proposed Hazaribagh-Ranchi four-lane road would end near Vikas Vidyalaya by taking a bypass of about 20km before meeting Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway near Rampur.

The state and central authorities are discussing whether the proposed Ring Road project for Ranchi can be merged with the highways’ proposed bypass on a cost-sharing basis. Arora added that the four-laning project of both the stretches would be part of National Highway Development Programme-Phase III.


Share your comments here: