Two revenue models proposed for bypass from Kazhakuttam to Karode

July 29, 2014

The Hindu


Annuity mode or tolling has been mooted to attract bidders to develop the 43.62-km stretch of the National Highway 66 (NH 66) bypass from Kazhakuttam to Karode into a four-lane carriageway.

Annuity mode or tolling has been mooted to attract bidders to develop the 43.62-km stretch of the National Highway 66 (NH 66) bypass from Kazhakuttam to Karode into a four-lane carriageway.

The suggestions had been made as at least five companies had shown ‘lack of interest’ to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to develop the 26-km stretch from Kazhakuttam to Mukkola initially.

Opposition to toll collection in the State, its non-feasibility, and delay in handing over land for the 17.62-km stretch of the road up to Karode on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border had been cited as the main reasons for the withdrawal of the companies.

An official of a company who participated in the RFP told The Hindu that the provisions to provide a link from the NH 66 to the proposed Kazhakuttam-Karode bypass had also affected the take off of the project, dragging on for over four decades now.

‘Financial closure’ was perceived difficult as toll volume would be low. Not many multi-axle vehicles moved through the stretch, qualified bidders had informed the NHAI.

Mostly, small cars would take the road and only 30 to 40 per cent of the road capacity would be used once it became a four-lane carriageway, he said.

The Public-Private Partnership Appraisal Committee had given the nod to take up the first 26 km on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode, for Rs.577.95 crore. The total project cost would be Rs.1,170 crore.

The bidders had also sought a revision of the design in view of the 16 road crossings proposed. At Venpalavattom, Chakka, Enchakkal, and Thiruvallom, vehicular underpasses had been mooted.

They had also told the NHAI that banks would give ‘financial closure’ to annuity mode as banks strictly followed RBI lending guidelines.

Land had been acquired for a four-lane stretch and to the extent of 45 metres on the Kazhakuttam-Chakka-Eenchakkal-Kovalam stretch. Fixing the fair value for the land in the Chenkal and Karode Blocks had been the major hurdle in completing land acquisition, sources said.

Source:The Hindu

Govt decides to fund highway projects

July 17, 2014

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN

NEW DELHI: Citing no interest of private players in highway sector to pick up projects under public-private partnership (PPP) mode, the NDA government will now roll out projects on cash contract or engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode at least for two-to-three years.

Under this mode, government bears the construction cost where the developer gets paid for the work. The developer exits the project after building the stretches.

Announcing this on Tuesday, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said his ministry is trying to arrange finances to take up projects on government funding or EPC mode. “Taking up more projects on public-private-partnership (PPP) is not feasible. We have to go ahead with EPC projects for at least next two years,” he added, while blaming the issues “created by the previous government”.

At present, while 160 highway projects are under implementation on PPP mode, entailing an investment of Rs 1.6 lakh crore, there is no progress in case of 65 projects. Out of these 65 projects, 28 have been terminated. CEO of a major highway construction company told TOI, “As such we have not taken any project on PPP mode in the past three years. At present, none is interested, considering the risk and prevailing market condition. We are struggling to complete the already bagged projects.”

Sensing that government has to create a huge corpus to pay for projects on cash contracts spanning over two-to-three years, Gadkari said his ministry is going to set up a corporation that will deal with financing of such projects. Gadkari added that he has already written to the Prime Minister and finance minister for getting portions of PF amount lying with the labour ministry as loan to the corporation.


Delhi-Gurgaon expressway gets a new operator

July 17, 2014

The Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has a new operator — Skylark Highways Solutions Ltd. The company will carry out maintenance and toll duties on the 28-km stretch beginning Wednesday. It will also be responsible for collecting toll at Kherki Daula plaza, which marks the end of the stretch.

According to figures provided by concessionaire Millennium City Expressways Pvt Ltd (MCEPL), about 2.5 lakh vehicles use the expressway to enter Gurgaon from Delhi every day and over 50,000 vehicles cross the Kherki Daula toll plaza to go to the new sectors of Gurgaon — Sectors 58-115 and Manesar.

Skylark Highways Solutions Ltd has been given a nine-month contract. After nine months, its work will be assessed before being made permanent. If made permanent, the contract will continue till 2023.

“We took over the toll plaza at Kherki Daula on Tuesday but will begin operations only from midnight. It will take us a few days to look into the problems at this particular toll plaza,” a spokesperson from Skylark said.

The new operator is expected to drive up the toll revenue. According to MCEPL officials, the toll revenue on weekdays from the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is approximately Rs 36 lakh.

In order to check bribing at toll booths, which brings down toll revenue by almost 10 per cent, the concessionaire is planning to install Automatic Vehicle Classification and Counting machines. This machine will remove any possibility of human interference to determine the value of toll tax.

The expressway is also set to get a facelift and the contract for the same has been awarded to two Gurgaon-based companies — Gawar Constructions and NKC Infrastructure. While Gawar will work to recarpet the Delhi-Jaipur road, NKC Infrastructure will work on the Delhi-Gurgaon road. The 28-km expressway that has 21 entry points and 28 exit points will don a new look by the end of this year, an MCEPL official said.

Source:The Hindu

Stuck Rs 1.8lakh crore road projects to be launched by Aug15: Nitin Gadkari

July 16, 2014

Stalled highways projects worth Rs 1,80,000 crore will be rolled out in a month’s span after ironing out hurdles like delays in land acquisition and green nods, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

Blaming the previous regime for award of projects “without acquiring even 10 per cent of the required land” and causing hardships for road sector, Gadkari also announced that steps were on to launch new projects worth 2 lakh crore soon.

“As many as 189 projects with a cost of Rs 1,80,000 crore are stuck due to problems in land acquisition, delays in forest and environment clearances, non-transfer of defence land and hurdles in rail overbridges… hurdles will be removed by August 15 and work will start on these,” Gadkari said addressing a summit on Highways by PHD Chamber.

In a significant shift of policy, he also said that public private partnership (PPP) model was not feasible at present for award of road projects due to a host of issues “created by the previous government” and that schemes will be bid out on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode.

“Projects were bid out by previous government without even 10 per cent of the required land acquisition. Work could not start on the project where financial closure took place two years back. Banks withdrew financial closure…PPP mode is not possible now. We will work on EPC model for a few years,” he said.

Unlike PPP model where the private sector has to fund the road building, in the EPC model, the Government funds a highway, with private firms designing and building the road.

Gadkari said, “DPR (detailed project report) will be ready soon for projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore after which steps would be taken for forest and environment clearance and land acquisiton…after two years roads and port sector will help India’s GDP to grow at least by 2 per cent.”

Eleven projects under PPP by previous regime which are stuck for two years will be rolled under EPC, Gadkari said A Committee for such projects has been constituted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under his chairmanship to fast track the road projects, he said.

Road sector alone accounts for Rs 2,40,000 crore NPAs by banks besides Rs 3,60,000 crore NPAs by power sector, he said adding  he would soon be holding meetings with bank officials in this regard. After clearing the backlog, Road Ministry will aspire to build 30 km of roads a day, he said.  He said work was on projects worth Rs 21,000 crore in Jammu & Kashmir and Rs 15,000 crore in the North East while hurdles for Rs 40,000 crore worth of projects were removed recently.

Gadkari said financing of road projects may not be a problem as the government is

willing to allow foreign investors to buy stake in a Corporation formed by Road Ministry.  “We are holding talks with some nations and have offered 26 per cent stake in the Corporation in lieu of funds to the tune of Rs one lakh crore,” Gadkari said.

Also he said that an ambitious plan to lay gas, optical fibre and power transmission lines along the one lakh km national highways was planned to generate revenue for the government. Gadkari said public amenties are proposed to be constructed every 50 Km on National Highways and 2000 such facilities will be constructed housing malls, restuarants etc.

To make toll collection process at the national highways easier and more transparent, he said the government will roll out RFID-based electronic toll collection across at least 350 toll plazas in three months.

“For this, a RFID chip-embedded sticker will be put on the vehicles and money will automatically get deducted at the toll plazas, through which the vehicles will pass through,”he said adding the department has inked a pact with ICICI bank in this regard.

Solar panels would also be fitted on these toll plazas. Besides, trees would be planted across NH lengths and all these steps are expected to result in employment to about 10 lakh youth. Gadkari also said that concrete roads which last longer than bitument and were cost-friendly will be built. He said use of ethanol will be promoted in a bid to cuton huge Rs 6 lakh crore import bills on petroleum, gas and crude.

Also a new Bill for Motor Vehicle Act was in the making in consultation with the prevailing laws in six advanced nations – UK, US, Canada, Brazil, Japan and Singapore, Gadkari said. On ports and waterways sector, he said inland navigation is proposed to be started soon on Ganga river stretch besides building airport like terminals on its banks.

Dredging will be done at 12 major ports to increase the 12 metre draft to 18 metres besides creation of dry ports for such states without sea.

Source:The Hindu

Government open to buying equity in highway projects, puts PPPs on hold

July 16, 2014

The government is open to buying equity in some of the 189 stalled highway projects where Rs 1.8 lakh crore is locked up due to myriad pending clearances, in a bid to jumpstart the highway sector, which it believes can push up the country’s growth rate by at least 2 per cent over the next two years.

The NDA government has also decided to put all public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the road sector on hold for two to three years as just a few infrastructure firms have any capacity to invest in new projects.

With banks having stopped lending to the infrastructure sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley are also looking at alternative long-term and lower-cost financing from pension funds like theRs 7.5 lakh crore Employees’ Provident Fund, or EPF.

Most developers are either restructuring their debts or are saddled with projects that have turned into non-performing assets.

“Today, the country has just 4-5 developers who are not in CDR (corporate debt restructuring) or in NPA lists. For the rest, band baaja baj gaya hai, aisi haalat hai (they are in a shambles)… So the PPP model is not possible at all,” said highways, road transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, Instead, the focus would be on new highway building through EPC, or engineering, procurement and construction, contracts for which the government foots the bill.

The PM has tasked Gadkari to lead a panel that would review all projects stuck in the infrastructure to lead a panel that would review all projects stuck in the infrastructure sectors of ports, roads, railways and airports every month and try to disentangle the mess left behind by the UPA government.

“I don’t want to blame anybody but the previous government didn’t even acquire 10 per cent land or procure forest clearances, yet work orders were given. The contractors achieved financial closure also, but they couldn’t start work for over two years, so banks withdrew their financial sanctions,” said Gadkari, explaining the logjam in highway projects.

The ministry has already resolved problems facing projects worth Rs 40,000 crore through intensive deliberations with developers and bankers and hopes to remove hurdles facing the rest of the projects worth Rs 1.4 lakh crore so that work can start on most of them by August 15.

“Most players want to pay a 1 per cent fine to abandon their projects and run away. I have told them, I will levy a 10 per cent penalty and blacklist

you so you won’t be able to do a single project for the rest of your life,” Gadkari said.

The four big reasons that projects are stuck, the minister said, were land acquisition, forest and environmental clearances, defence land tracts on highway alignments and delays in clearances for rail overbridges from the railways.

The road ministry is also creating a shelf of road projects worth Rs 2-3 lakh crore for which it would initiate work on obtaining green clearances and land along with detailed project reports,so that they can bid out as the sector revives.

Gadkari said that infra projects in today’s environment can only become viable if they get low-cost funds, since construction costs have gone up while traffic revenues have dipped. Bank lending rates are at 13 per cent while infrastructure bonds offer funds at 9 per cent.

“We are talking to countries where bank deposit rates are low, and hope to get around Rs 1 lakh crore from them for which we will give them 26 per cent equity in projects. I have also written to the PM and the finance minister to open up pension fund investments in infrastructure sector,” he said.

The minister said that a decision has been made to link the one lakh kilometres of national highways with optic fibre cables, gas pipelines and power transmission lines, preferably underground.

“We have decided to go for cement roads as they can now be 4 per cent cheaper than bitumen roads. I have spoken to four cement companies to consider this and have warned industry not to form a cartel and raise prices,” he said.

“American roads are not good because America is rich. But America is rich because American roads are good. So, I will try to raise the country’s GDP from 4.5 per cent by at least 2 per cent in the next two years through the highway and ports sector,” the minister said, speaking at an interaction with industry experts on Tuesday.

source: Economic Times

Rajasthan plans 20,000 km of State Highways

July 15, 2014

Giving a major push to better road connectivity and tourism, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje  announced the Budget for 2014-15 presented in the Assembly on Monday.

The total Plan outlay for the budget is Rs 69,820 crore, an increase of 72 per cent as against the last budget. The estimated revenue surplus stands at Rs 737 crore and the fiscal deficit at Rs 20,186 crore, which is 3.52 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). The estimated budgetary deficit for the year 2014-15 is Rs 3,151 crore whereas the total revenue Receipts are estimated to be Rs 1,06,125 crore and the estimated revenue raised by the State is likely to be Rs 40,655 crore –18 per cent higher than the previous fiscal year.

Ms Raje also announced the setting up of a Rajasthan State highway authority for laying 20,000 km of State Highways. Six roads of 1,000 km would be developed as east-west corridor. To be developed under public-private partnership (PPP) mode, contracts would be given on the basis of output and performance-based roads construction system. “There will be penalty and incentives for builders as per the performance,” she said. All nationalised routes would be de-nationalised in a phased manner and the bus stops will be constructed with latest amenities.

Taking on the previous Congress government for initiating work on metro in hurried manner for political gains, Ms Raje said an amount of Rs 3,000 crore had been invested for laying a 12- km-long metro line. Economically, the Jaipur Metro is not feasible proposition and the same amount could have been utilised for laying 110 road over-bridges and 5,000 km of road across the State, she said.



Source: The Hindu

Six-laning work of NH45 begins

July 15, 2014

Over 90,000 vehicles use the stretch connecting Tambaram and Tindivanam. Photo: M. Srinath
Over 90,000 vehicles use the stretch connecting Tambaram and Tindivanam.

Preparatory work has commenced for the six-laning of a 93-km stretch on the Chennai-Tiruchi highway (NH45) from Tambaram to Tindivanam.

According to sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the consultant has begun preparing the land plan schedule that identifies government and private lands. The consultant is also drawing up the estimate for shifting of utilities along the road that is used by over 90,000 vehicles a day.

The process including enumeration of trees along the road will take two years. “Since the concessionaire has a contract to build, operate and transfer the road for a period of 17.5 years, which is till November 2019, the NHAI will take a call as to when the work can be taken up,” explained an official. Work to widen the road into a four-lane facility began in May 2002 and was completed in October 2004 when tolling began.

A decision will also be taken regarding widening of the urban stretches upto Tambaram. “We have to take into consideration various factors including the Chennai Outer Ring Road that takes off from Vandalur, the railway track running on one side of the road and the densely populated urban stretch. Land acquisition will be a major issue in these areas,” he said.

R. Samban, who recently travelled by the NH45 to Tiruchi, said that the lighting could be improved on some stretches. “Some of the curves are quite sharp. During the widening, care must be taken to improve visibility at these points. The NHAI must also ensure that trees along the road are not cut but transplanted,” he said.

Sources:The Hindu

Plans afoot to acquire land for 6-lane CTH Road

July 8, 2014


The highways department will acquire space along the 22-km-long urban stretch of the road from Padi to Thiruninravur — Photo: K. Pichumani

The stretch runs through 13 revenue villages

As a first step towards making Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road a six-lane facility, the highways department is drafting the land plan schedule for acquiring space along the 22-km-long urban stretch of the road, from Padi to Thiruninravur.

Sources in the department said, of the 13 revenue villages the road runs through, land plan schedule, which contains details of land ownership, is ready for nine villages.

“The road is being expanded and re-laid from end to end, wherever there is space. We have taken over land belonging to the government,” said an official. Crash barriers are being cast in-situ and placed on the road on certain stretches.

K. Selvam, who runs an automobile workshop in Mannurpet in Padi, said after re-laying the road, the area has become clean.

“Earlier, there were potholes and a lot of mud. By afternoon, my boys and I would be covered in dust flying from the road,” he said, adding, water stagnation is a problem during and after the rains.

“A proper slope should be maintained so water runs off easily,” he said.

Consumer activist T. Sadagopan said the absence of stormwater drains leads to flooding in adjoining residential areas. “In some places, sewage too flows on to the road. Steps must be taken to prevent this,” he said.

Stormwater drains will be provided only when the six-lane road is laid, said the highways official. “We cannot construct drains for the four-lane stretch, and then break it during expansion. We have provided connections wherever cross drains are there,” said the official.

It was in December 2013, that the highways department took up work to widen the stretch at a cost of Rs. 98 crore after the National Highways Authority of India gave up on it.


Cabinet okays setting up of state highways authority

July 8, 2014

TNN |  
BIKANER: The state cabinet on Monday gave a go-ahead to the constitution of Rajasthan State Highways Authority, among several other proposals.

Parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore said the authority would undertake work of 20,000 km in the state. “It will develop the state highways and also the East-West mega corridor in the state. The authority will also hand over the maintenance of one lakh km roads in rural areas on a contract-basis for the next eight years,” he added. The cabinet, with a long agenda compromising several proposals related to the four districts of the Bikaner division met on Monday, which was the last day of its 11-day camp in the division. The entire cabinet headed by Raje was camping here since June 19 as part ofthe government’s `Sarkar Aapke Dwar’ programme.

It also gave green signal to the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (prohibition of slaughter and regulation of temporary migration or export) Bill, 2014, following which smuggling and slaughtering of camel will be banned.


Nanjundapuram flyover works likely to be over by this month

July 8, 2014


 The road work for the bridge across the railway gate on Nanjundapuram road is yet to be completed. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

The Hindu The road work for the bridge across the railway gate on
Nanjundapuram road is yet to be completed. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

The contractor has paid Rs. 17 lakh penalty

Works for a bridge across the railway line on Nanjundapuram road are expected to be completed by the end of this month, according to an official of the State Highways Department.

The official told The Hindu that the bridge works are over, and the road — 150 metres on one side and 90 metres on the other — needs to be completed. The total cost for the road work is Rs. 40 lakh.

The contractor has paid Rs. 17 lakh penalty so far for delay in completing the works. Land acquisition has been completed for the road works.

The project is getting delayed because of financial problems for the contractor. It was expected to be completed in last month.

The cost for the project was fixed in 2009-10 and the contractor is incurring loss now because the costs have gone up. If the works are not completed by the end of this month, the department will look at cancelling the contract, the official said.

The Rs. 12.6-crore project involves construction of 693 metre, two-lane bridge. It includes 337.75 metre road on the Ramanathapuram side and 317.26 metre road on the Podanur side.

Works started more than two years ago and land acquisition was completed in August last year. The works were expected to be completed by December, 2013.


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