No NHAI funds if Kerala develops NH stretches at 30 m: Gadkari

July 15, 2014



The Centre will not extend any assistance under the national highways programme if the Kerala government decides to develop NH stretches in the state at 30-metre width instead of 45 metres.

This was informed by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to BJP’s Kerala unit president V Muraleedharan who met him at his office here.

“We are opposing the state government’s move. We informed the minister (Gadkari) that national highway should be 45 m and Kerala government should not be allowed to convert it into a 30-m national highway. He told us that NHAI funds would not be available for NHs less than 45 m wide,” Muraleedharan told PTI.

The Kerala government is keen on fast-tracking four-laning of 30-m highways to avoid the massive land acquisition that was needed if the width was 45 m or 60 m as in the case of other NHDP projects in the country.

Bowing to pressure from the state, the previous UPA government had agreed in principle to reduce the width of 829 km of national highways being developed from 45 m to 30 m.

Muraleedharan claimed that the state government wanted to tweak the rules on the pretext that it could not acquire land.

“It was a sort of a conspiracy on their (state government’s) part,” Muraleedharan said and alleged that “if it is allowed to have a 30-m road and the central government’s assistance is available, it will benefit many people who are in this contract.”

(This article was published on July 6, 2014)

JICA may fund Chennai, Bangalore ring roads

December 23, 2013

By KR Sudhaman

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which has stepped up annual lending to India to $3-3.5 billion, might lend about $600 million to construct outer ring road in Bangalore and Chennai as part of its plan to finance Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor.

JICA’s chief representative in India, Shinya Ejima, told Financial Chronicle that it might take up these two projects even before the master plan for Chennai-Bangalore-Chitradurga industrial corridor is ready. The plan is expected to be completed by March next year.

“We have not finalised the funding amount as yet, but it could be up to $300 million each,” he said.

JICA, which has funded up to Rs 30,000 crore for the Delhi Metro project, has also funded Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata metro projects. It has also pumped in Rs 4,700 crore to fund the underground portion of the 60 km Colaba-Virar metro project to be jointly taken up by union and Maharashtra governments.

“The Rs 4,700 crore commitment for 33.5 km underground stretch of the metro project in Mumbai is perhaps the first instalment. There could be one or two more instalments as it’s a big project,” he said.

According to Ejima, there are demands from Indian government for funding more metro projects in the country, including that of Kochi and Lucknow. But so far no decision has been taken as the financial viability of these two metros is yet to be ascertained, he said.

JICA, which provides nearly 50 per cent of its overseas development assistance to India, also give long-term financial assistance at a low interest of 1.4 per cent with a repayment period of 30 years, including a 10-year grace period.

Ejima claimed that JICA’s loans are the cheapest and is lower than that of World Bank and ADB loans. JICA loans provided to environmental projects carries an interest rate of a mere 0.2-0.3 per cent.

China was the largest recipient of JICA loans until 2000 with an annual commitment of $2 billion. JICA has stopped lending to China since 2008. Now India is the largest recipient and its annual commitment would be $3-3.5 billion in the next couple of years. India is keen that Japan step up its annual commitment, which is likely after a couple of years, Ejima said.

The potential for Japanese investments in India is huge. About 30,000 Japanese private companies have invested in China, whereas in India it is surging towards 1,000 mark. Comparing the two, Ejima said in China decisions are taken quickly where as in India there are a lot of procedural delays. But the scenario is improving, added Ejima.

India can also be a major manufacturing hub for Japanese companies for exports to countries in Africa and West Asia and there are a lot of medium and small Japanese companies want to set up in India, but they want faster and easier clearances.

Ejima said JICA, which has lent $1.5 billion for the Delhi-Mumbai dedicated freight corridor did not expect Chennai-Bangalore freight corridor happening in the immediate future. JICA would basically set up two to three industrial townships along Chennai-Bangalore corridor, as the region already has good roads and good rail connectivity.

There will be Japanese investments in Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridors, but by private players. Lately, a private Japanese company is interested in building airport at the new industrial town Dholera coming up near Ahmedabad on DMIC and JICA is partly funding the feasibility of the project.

Ejima said water and energy are two major areas of JICA funding in India apart from transport sector. JICA will also be funding forestry projects every year in India. JICA annual funding has grown from $1.2 billion in 2001 to $3.5 billion in 2012. Only in 2010, the funding had dropped to 0.48 billion due to the devastating Tsunami disaster in Japan.

Though JICA has funded metros and dedicated freight corridors, “We are not helping Indian railways directly and the immediate reason is there is no official request from Indian government to support Indian railways,” he said adding for all the projects JICA has funded until now, the request came from the Indian government.

Ejima said Japan could look at funding high-speed rail corridor. One is Mumbai-Ahmedabad and other one could be Chennai-Bangalore. “Recently, we have appointed consultants for joint feasibility study with Indian Railways for Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor,” said Ejima.

According to Ejima, the huge investment of Rs 63,000 crore on Mumbai-Ahmedabad is worthwhile. He points out that when the high-speed train between Tokyo-Osaka was launched in 1964, the per-capita income of Japan was only $900. Given that India’s per-capita income is pegged at $1200-$1300, it should be a viable project, he said adding that the joint feasibility report would reflect on these aspects.

Japanese offer to revive sagging ring road project

December 18, 2013


BDA waiting for GoI approval to borrow Rs. 3,800 cr. from Japanese aid agency

The peripheral ring road (PRR) project of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which has witnessed endless delays on account of litigations and fund crunch, is all set to take off now with the help of foreign funding.

Speaking to The Hindu on Tuesday, BDA Commissioner T. Sham Bhat said that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a multinational aid agency, had come forward to assist the PRR project with a soft loan of Rs. 3,800 crore.

The proposed 65-kilometre, 75-metre-wide road will connect Tumkur Road with Hosur Road via Doddaballapur Road, Bellary Road, Old Madras Road and Sarjapur Road.

Mr. Bhat said that the cabinet had approved the proposal and that it was being scrutinised by the Union government. “The Chief Secretary [Karnataka] has informed us that the Union government is satisfied with the proposal and will grant permission within 10 days,” he said, expressing hope that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with JICA would be signed in a month.

When asked why the BDA, which is already saddled with massive debts, is borrowing further, Mr. Bhat said that JICA had offered them an extremely attractive low interest loan. “They approached us and no other Indian bank or aid agency came forward,” he said.

The acquisition of 1,900 acres for the PRR project is complete, Mr. Bhat said, as a result of a High Court order that set aside objections to the notifications. The cost of the PRR project is Rs. 5,800 crore of which the BDA has already incurred an expense of Rs. 2,000 crore towards compensation to land losers.




Ministry looks to Japanese funds for highway projects in North East

December 18, 2013


 NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is trying to tie up Japanese funds for projects in the North-East that had difficulty in attracting private sector investment in the past, said officials aware of the development.

These projects include highway stretches in states such as Mizoram, Nagaland, Assam and Meghalaya – in some cases they lie close to the Myanmar and Bangladesh border – as well as bridge projects over the Brahmaputra in Assam.

The ministry will seek assistance from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan’s official financial assistance arm, for the projects.

“We have had discussions with the Japanese government and they have shown interest in the proposal. We have narrowed down projects and would ask the Department of Economic Affairs to include this in the JICA Rolling Plan. JICA can assist with the preparation of the detailed project reports (DPRs),” said a road ministry official  with the issue.

Another ministry official confirmed the development, saying foreign funding is necessary since domestic investment has not been forthcoming so far.

At present, the JICA is conducting a study in consultation with the highways ministry to identify specific cooperation areas on developing connectivity, including highways in the North-East. JICA has begun gathering data on transport infrastructure development for regional connectivity in and around South Asia since August 2013 to assess the current situation and chart out a plan for regional cooperation in the inland transport sector in South Asia.

“The rapid economic growth in South Asia, reforms in Myanmar and various development movements in South East Asia, including establishment of ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, have generated strong momentum for enhancing the regional connectivity through development of cross border infrastructure, both within and between countries in South Asia and South-East Asia.

“Considering the above, especially in the Indian context, there’s no doubt that the North-East is the most crucial region in terms of connectivity across borders to countries like Myanmar and further on. Among other things, the study team intends to identify requirements for transport infrastructure in the North Eastern region of India,” said Shinya Ejima,   JICA’s chief representative in India.

“JICA’s study would be aligned with India’s Look-East policy as well as along the lines of a broader cooperation among South Asian nations and Japan,” he added. The highways ministry is also working with the Asian Development Bank (ABD) to develop and expand India’s road network.from the North-East into Myanmar.


More Funds for Highway Projects Sought

December 17, 2013

By Express News Service – BANGALORE



Higher Education Minister R V Deshapande and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with Union Minister Kamal Nath in New Delhi on Monday
Higher Education Minister R V Deshapande and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with Union Minister Kamal Nath in New Delhi on Monday


Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is on a two-day visit to Delhi, met Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath on Monday and sought funds for various highway projects being undertaken in the state.

According to official sources, during Siddaramaiah’s over half-an-hour meeting with the Union minister he submitted a memorandum on the projects which were being taken up in the state under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

He also met Union Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad and conveyed concerns of the arecanut farmers following an affidavit submitted by the Health Ministry to the Supreme Court supporting the ban on areca.

Later, Siddaramaiah told reporters that the Centre has not submitted any affidavit suggesting the SC to impose ban on the use of arecanut.

“We also brought to the notice of the Union Health Minister the medicinal properties of areca,” he said.

Higher Education Minister R V Deshapande, Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake, Congress MPs H Vishwanath and R Dhruvanarayan and MLAs S R Mahesh and Chikkamadu were also present.


Highway Authority’s public-funded projects see slowdown effect

December 17, 2013


The impact of economic slowdown is getting reflected in the latest bids of National Highway Authority of India for the rights to collect tolls from the toll plazas of public-funded stretches.

However, there are some exceptions.

Traffic on national highways indicates the economic activity of a region, and toll is collected from the road users.

Out of 17 stretches put on auction, response was received for 14 till Friday.

Based on the bids for these 14 stretches, NHAI will receive four per cent less amount next year, because only six stretches have received higher offers than the preceding year.

These six stretches include four in Uttar Pradesh and one in Andhra Pradesh.

The bid process involves firms quoting a fixed amount of money to NHAI to bag the rights to collect tolls for a period of one year from road users using a particular NH stretch, which could have one or more toll plazas.

The bidder who quotes the highest amount bags the bid.

Explaining the variation in bids, an NHAI official said, “Traffic surveys don’t capture local issues such as resistances to paying tolls. So, in some areas, there are lower bids.

There was no response to three bids. “In these bids, the existing contracts will be extended by three months,” the source added. The broad trend of drop in traffic is being seen in most highway projects. The toll levels being charged from users will be the same.

They will be revised upwards from April 1, linked with 60 per cent of the WPI inflation and 3 per cent simple interest rate. “When the toll rates go up, the bidders will pay extra to NHAI proportionally,” said the official.

This is the first time that NHAI has done the entire bidding process for toll collection rights for public funded projects – right from annual qualifying bids list to financial bid submission – happened online.

Earlier, such bidding process was followed for highway project awards and for operating maintenance transfer contracts.


Rs 3,619 crore budget to fund projects

December 11, 2013



LUCKNOW: The Samajwadi Party government on Tuesday tabled the current year’s second supplementary budget worth Rs 3,619.76 crore to mainly fund its infrastructure projects like Lucknow Metro, Agra-Lucknow Expressway and rural electrification. Earlier, in September, the Akhilesh-led state government had tabled the first supplementary budget worth Rs 7,112.39 crore.The second supplementary budget has allocated Rs 450 core for Lucknow-Agra Expressway and Rs 900 crore for Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Project.

Earlier, the government had planned to get the expressway constructed on the PPP model. However, after failing to get the expected response, it has decided to get it constructed through on its own. Besides, there is an allocation of Rs 20 crore for the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation.

The budget has also earmarked Rs 90 crore for reimbursing the amount taken from emergency fund for rehabilitation of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli riot victims and Rs 126 crore as society commission to Cooperative Sugarcane Committees for the crushing season of 2013-14. Earlier, this commission was paid by the mill owners, but as per a recent agreement the government has agreed to pay it.

The supplementary demands also include Rs 200 crore for CC road, KC drain and interlocking tiles under Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya Samagra Gram Vikas scheme and Rs 13 crore to rehabilitate those displaced from Chak Gajaria farm. In same way, a provision of Rs 5 crore has been made to reestablish units in Lucknow city from Chak Gajaria farm and another Rs 11 crore earmarked for shifting of artificial insemination centre at Chak Gajaria farm to State Agricultural Management Institute, Rahman Kheda.

The government has also allocated Rs 8.11 crore to clear the pending dues with regards to Kumbh Mela, 2013 held at Allahabad and Rs 218 crore has been earmarked for State Disaster Response Fund. The government has also allocated Rs 100 crore for farmers insurance claim covered in the current fiscal and Rs 100 crore for the repair and maintenance of state, district and important roads and Rs 50 crore for state highways and Rs 400 crore for roads construction, upgradation and widening through state road fund. Interestingly, Rs 2.5 crore had been earmarked for maintenance and fuelling of vehicles of cabinet and minister of states while Rs 1.5 crore has been allocated for the renovation and upkeep of the official houses of the legislators.


Fin Min okays road ministry’s plan for safety of women under Nirbhaya Fund

November 19, 2013

Mihir Mishra : New Delhi,

The finance ministry has approved plans by the road transport and home ministries and the department of information technology to implement safety improvement measures for women under the Nirbhaya Fund.

“The plans by ministry of road transport and highways and home affairs and department of information technology have been selected by the finance ministry,” said a senior road transport ministry official. The approvals came in a meeting chaired by the finance minister this month.

This fund, to be spent on providing security to the women across the country, was announced by finance minister P Chidambaram in Budget 2013-14.

The official further said that the road transport ministry’s approved plan, includes installing cameras and global positioning system (GPS) in buses and other modes of public transport.

“The recordings by cameras and GPS will be monitored real time. We also plan to closely work with the police to ensure their intervention in case of detection of any untoward incident. The plan is to implement these in cities with population over 1 million,” he added.

The intercity buses plying in Delhi have GPS system installed and any change in route is detected by the control centre, where it is monitored.

“We also have to decide on the number of control centres that is going to be opened. Whether we open it in all cities or key cities is a decision that needs to be taken,” he added.

The plan by the department of information technology is to come up with a watch, pen or mobile with a panic button to send out distress signals. The home ministry’s plan is to develop a system to ensure tracking accidents as early as possible.

The Nirbhaya Fund was name after Nirbhaya, a pseudonym given to the victim of the gang rape that took place in Delhi on December 16, 2012.



KSRTC patted by JnNURM for spending wisely

October 10, 2013

Aparajita Ray, TNN

 BANGALORE: KSRTC gets another boost. As it spent wisely the funds allocated for increasing fleet and creating amenities for commuters in the first phase of JnNURM, it got special fund allocated to make depots, workshops and intelligent transport system in the second phase.

KSRTC will get Rs 52.75 crore to construct 13 depots, NWKRTC has been sanctioned Rs 6 crore for one depot, NEKRTC has got Rs 20 crore for four depots and BMTC has got Rs 20 crore for five depots in the second phase of JnNURM.

Funds are also allocated for constructing workshops and assistance in implementation of ITS for BMTC.


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