Project to install high-speed traffic cameras fails to take off

April 16, 2014

Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Subhendu Ray

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Traffic Police had mooted a grand plan of installing speed cameras at the city’s busy intersections to nab motorists flouting rules as well as bringing down the number of fatal accidents on the roads.

SONU MEHTA / HT  -Delhi traffic police want to set up 8 high-speed cameras in two accident prone zones to track and nab offenders.Three years on, however, the plan continues to remain on paper with the traffic police force once again missing the March deadline for implementation of the project.

Sources said in 2012 that the traffic police had come up with a plan to install 70 infrared-based speed cameras at the busy city intersections in order to identify and nab speeding motorists.

The plan, however, was later scrapped as the ministry of home affairs did not approve it.

Later, due to a ‘funds crunch’, the traffic police had scaled down their demand and come up with a fresh plan to instead eight such high-speed cameras and install them at the city’s two accident-prone zones at Kingsway Camp and Aurobindo Marg  by March 2014.

However, the ` 2.25 crore project again got stuck during its technical evaluation phase.

“We had plans to install the cameras by the last financial year but the tender process got stuck during the technical evaluation. The whole process of finalising the bidder may take a few more months,” stated Taj Hassan, special commissioner of police (traffic).

Sources however, claimed that the project this time too failed to take off again due to non-allocation of funds by the ministry.

“With the fund allocated to us, we could only purchase 78 breath analysers in the last financial year,” said a senior traffic police officer.

In 2013, more than 1,700 people were killed in road accidents. During an analysis, traffic police found out that many of them were killed due to speeding. This year also, over 400 people were killed on the roads of the city during the first three months.

The cops also had plans to buy 10 Innova cars mounted with automatic speed violation detection system, which would intercept vehicles speeding beyond permissible limits, both during day and night and in all kinds of weather conditions.

This project too is yet to be cleared.

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Maharashtra govt agencies float tenders for Bandra Versova Sea Link project

April 7, 2014

Manthan K Mehta,TNN |

MUMBAI: Maharashtra government agencies have floated tenders for Bandra Versova Sea Link(BVSL) and elevated corridor from Eastern Express Highway (EEH) to Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), besides inviting consultancy services to built terminal facilities for inland passenger water transport along the Eastern coast.A official from MSRDC said, “The Rs 4,300 crore BVSL project will be built over a period of five years. It will reduce travel time between South Mumbai and Versova by 45 minutes as motorist will have the option of avoiding the congested stretch on SV road and WEH.”

Another project which will help faster travel between Western and Eastern Suburbs is Rs 261 crore elevated corridor between EEH to BKC.

MMRDA official said, “It will cut down travel time be 30 minutes once this 2.5km long elevated corridor is ready in 36 months.”

MSRDC said passenger water transport on Eastern Coast will connect south Mumbai (Jamshedji Bunder) to Nerul via catamarans and hovercrafts.


Delhi-Gurgaon project: law dept advises govt against acquiring toll plaza

October 15, 2013

Hitender Rao, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh,



Haryana’s law department has advised the state government against acquiring the toll plaza rights of the Delhi-Gurgaon toll project by invoking political force majeure clause, citing a pending litigation in the Delhi high court and huge financial implications.

Political force majeure means an event involving risks which generally relate to changes in the political environment (embargoes, riots, insurrection, blockade, terrorist actions and war) or legal environment (changes in law or licences, permits and consents necessary for the project).For exploring the option of acquiring the toll plaza by invoking the political force majeure clause, the government had sought advice from the law department. The law department wrote the clause that provides that expropriation of compulsory acquisition of any project assets or rights of the concessionaire could be made by any government agency, including the Haryana government.

“However, the matter involves huge financial implications. Also it is pending adjudication before the HC. If the termination notice issued by the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) is held legal, the financial liabilities shall be much less than the state invoking political force majeure clause of the agreement. It is suggested that Haryana should support the termination notice and get the matter resolved from the court urgently in public interest. So, under these circumstances, it would not be appropriate to proceed further ignoring the termination notice and stay order passed by Delhi HC,” the law department wrote.


A concession agreement was signed in 2002 between the NHAI and concessionaire Jaypee DSC Ventures Limited (later named Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited) for making the Delhi-Gurgaon section of the national highway-8 into an access controlled highway on built-operate-transfer (BOT) basis for a concession period of 20 years.

A state-support agreement of the project was signed among the concessionaire, NHAI, Haryana and Delhi governments. The project was put to commercial operation in January 2008. Subsequently, problems pertaining to traffic — long queues and logjams — on toll plazas started affecting the commuters.

In March this year, the NHAI had issued a notice of termination of the agreement to the concessionaire on the grounds such as non-fulfillment of various clauses, and non-maintenance of the main accessway and lanes.

Officials said the concessionaire was expected to improve the lanes at Kherki Dhaula toll and integrate the collection system at the main Gurgaon toll plaza. The notice was also issued as the concessionaire had raised loans by securitising the toll collection and without informing the NHAI.

The Delhi high court, subsequently, stayed the effect of the termination notice after the concessionaire challenged it in court.

In May, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda wrote to the NHAI seeking shifting of the two toll plazas — at the entry of the Gurgaon and near Kherki Dhaula to Bilaspur.


The matter was discussed in a board meeting of the NHAI on May 14 and it was conveyed to the Haryana government that the first option was to press before the high court to allow termination of the concession agreement in the event of concessionaire’s default. In this case, the termination payment works out to beRs. 118 crore.

The next option was to press before the high court to allow the NHAI to acquire the toll plaza, citing political force majeure in light of problems being faced by citizens and request made by the government. The NHAI though put a rider that in such an eventuality: a clear commitment should be obtained from the government that the liability on account of termination payment – around ` 335 crore and any other claim which may arise on the account of termination — will be borne by the government


The state government then got itself impleaded in the high court. In its application, Haryana said it supported the termination notice issued by the NHAI and requested that both existing toll plazas be removed and erected at Bilaspur on the NH-8.

It also prayed that the high court may terminate the agreement with a one-time termination payment of Rs.118 crore or allow a Haryana’s proposal to acquire project/rights under political force majeure clause whereupon the state will bear liability on the account of termination payment. If the two options are not possible, the government may be allowed to operate a single toll plaza in Bilaspur



Government revisiting policy that allows infrastructure developers to exit highway projects

October 10, 2013

By ET Bureau |


The exit policy approved by the government in July under the belief that it would help release much-needed equity and get stalled projects off the ground has not achieved its objective because of its complicated structure.

(The exit policy approved by the government in July under the belief that it would help release much-needed equity and get stalled projects off the ground has not achieved its objective because of its complicated structure.)
NEW DELHI: The government is revisiting the policy that allows infrastructure developers to exit highway projects by divesting their entire stake, a decision prompted by complaints about confusion over taxation issues that could arise in such transactions.The exit policy approved by the government in July under the belief that it would help release much-needed equity and get stalled projects off the ground has not achieved its objective because of its complicated structure.

“The policy has not found many takers and we are currently revisiting the framework to resolve issues over taxation in the Special Purpose Vehicles ( SPV) executing the projects,” said Rohit Kumar Singh, joint secretary with the ministry of road transport and highways. There is confusion over whether tax holidays and other aspects of the policy would apply when the new developer comes in, he said.

Highway developers had written to the government after the policy was formalised, saying it was unclear whether tax benefits could migrate to the new entity and that capital gains tax implications could also be substantial. They had also stated that clarity was needed on whether legal consents and permits could migrate to the new entity.

The ministry also wants more flexibility in the model concession agreement (MCA) to allow the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) board to make changes, if required.

“Currently, the MCA is a very rigid framework. Even for small changes we need to go the Cabinet which takes time and it needs to be justified on several levels. The MCA should be left to the NHAI board to decide and this includes the framework of how Public Private Partnerships (PPP) will be required to be addressed in the road sector,” Singh said while addressing a PHD chamber conference on infrastructure.

“Under the framework designed by the committee headed by Planning Commission member BK Chaturvedi, any road project will have to be tried first on the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) – toll model. If it does not succeed, go BOT (annuity), and if still does not succeed go to the Engineering Procurement and Construction ( EPC) model. This leaves no flexibility for new, innovative models which might be appropriate considering the field conditions,” Singh added.


​NHAI cancels Rs 535cr project for 4-lane road in Coimbatore

October 9, 2013

Julie Mariappan, TNN |

CHENNAI: Yet another central government project in Tamil Nadu has been stalled with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) cancelling the contract for a new four-lane Coimbatore-Mettupalayam road, an extension of the existing NH67, citing lack of support from the state government. The 535 crore plan is the third major NHAI project to be halted in the state after the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated road and widening of the Trichy-Karaikudi highway.In a letter to the Union transport ministry on Tuesday, NHAI general manager (Tamil Nadu) I S Rana said the work order, to be given to the contractor, could not be signed due to non-availability of land. “With the state government withdrawing the consent for the alignment, there is no likelihood of making the land available for the project. Since it cannot be kept in abeyance indefinitely, the matter for withdrawal of work order was placed before the NHAI board and approved,” he said.

NHAI has asked the ministry to entrust the existing highway stretch back to the state government for maintenance and development.

NHAI declares Oct 9 as pact date for Rajasthan road proj

October 7, 2013

Concession period of 30 years including construction period of 910 days will start from the appointed date

Infrastructure firm Sadbhav Engineering today said NHAI has fixed October 9 as appointed date for a road widening project in Rajasthan, which it bagged from highways regulator recently.

“National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has declared October 9 as appointed date for the project – four laning of Rajsamand-Gangapur-Bhilwara Sadbhav Engineering in Rajasthan on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis,” the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The appointed date is the date from which the concession agreement starts.

The company has recently won a Rs 778-crore project for widening of the 87 km stretch, which it said will “executed through our special purpose vehicle, i.e. Bhilwara-Rajsamand Tollway Pvt Ltd.”

The concession period of 30 years including construction period of 910 days will start from the appointed date, it said.


Bridging the $1 trillion infrastructure need of India

October 7, 2013

 Agency: DNA

Jayanti S Ravi

Traveling to different developed countries as a teenager, I would be impressed by the roads, airports and continuous power supply available always. Yet, one would long to return to the warmth of our motherland, India. But, the sorry state of the airports, roads and the impending electricity cuts would immediately meet and greet me. These would make one hope fervently that our India be better than the best when it came to physical infrastructure, too.

Over the years, except for some pockets and cities, our country is still far from even being as good as the rest. We are still grappling with the challenges of urbanisation and the related issues of roads, airports, electricity and water, among others.

Traditionally, world over, the public sector has dealt with infrastructure projects. Since 2000, however, these are increasingly implemented in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode with debt and equity. A profit-seeking private sector is believed to be more efficient, cost conscious, customer-focused, delivers faster and brings better value for money and enhanced innovations.

This augments the often constrained state budget too and government can get things done without having to raise taxes or issue bonds.

Interestingly, history tells us that the first railway line in India, as also many other lines, was actually built in a PPP mode. The 30-km-long Bombay to Thane railway line was built in 1849 by the Great India Peninsula Railway Company!

Today, studies show that infra-investment leads to a one-for-one percentage increase in GDP.

Clearly, inadequate infrastructure hinders economic growth. India’s infrastructure forecasts an investment need of a trillion dollars from 2012 to 2017.

Way back in 2001, I remember zipping through the squeaky new Vadodara-Halol toll road, which really felt like a driver’s paradise! Over the years, toll roads have made travel easier and pleasant, saving precious time. Yet, some questions were doing the rounds in my mind. Would these tolls further alienate the ‘haves’ from the ‘have-nots’? Would world-class infrastructure ‘take a toll’ on the economically disadvantaged sections, further accentuating the gap?

Last week, I had participated in a case study session on the brown-field project of refurbishing the Mumbai airport. One understood the serious challenges & risks encountered and the many innovative ways in which the project was designed and built. A state-of-the-art airport, this has been ranked as the third top airport of the world. During the discussions, there was a ‘voila’ moment! I realized that the major revenue would be from the non-core or the non-aero sector.

This includes restaurants, hotels and shops in the airport.

Only about 30% of the revenue would be from user charges, which would be regulated. This win-win proposition answered my knotty concerns, ensuring low, regulated user charges yet providing excellent facilities for all!

More and more infra projects in the PPP mode would also mean greater awareness for sustainable, eco-friendly designs with sufficient concerns for the social dimensions.

Each time we pay a toll, turn on a switch or enter an airport, let us pause and reflect. Let us bridge the 1 trillion dollar infrastructure gap across the coming five years and empower the 1.2 billion aspiring Indians. Infrastructure that boosts the quality of life, productivity and economy of our nation would make India a special paradise on earth.

“There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future. The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on.” Mark Zuckerberg

The author is a Harvard educated civil servant and writer, now working in the education sector




Delhi-Gurgaon toll road project gets more muddled

September 27, 2013



Ministry looking at making a criminal liability case


The Delhi-Gurgaon toll road project is getting further tangled in controversies. The Highways Ministry is considering whether a criminal liability case can be made on the project.

This is what emerges in a letter sent by Highway Ministry Secretary Vijay Chhibber to NHAI Chairman R.P. Singh on Thursday.

Simultaneously, the Haryana Government has backed off from its earlier stated intention of buying out the project to make it toll free and ease the pain for commuters facing jams on the toll road. With this, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will have to buy-back the concession agreement, at the earliest, the Secretary said.

On Wednesday, NHAI Chairman had written to Highway Secretary to decide how the project could be handed over to Haryana State Government.

A day later, on Thursday, the Road Secretary wrote back to NHAI that in a meeting between Highways Minister and Haryana Chief Minister – held in the presence of Highway Secretary, NHAI Chairman and Haryana Chief Secretary – it was “patently clear that the Government of Haryana is not pursuing its earlier intention of buying out that project”.

Given the importance of the issue and the prevailing uncertainty, the Ministry will also seek assistance from Attorney General to represent NHAI in pursuing this matter in Delhi High Court. This project is already under dispute due to the multiple issues and hearings are going in Delhi High Court.

Due to the toll road developer not meeting his commitments on road maintenance and commuters facing a lot of inconvenience, NHAI had decided to terminate the project.

But, the project lenders – currently led by IDFC – have given more money to the developer than the project cost agreed upon by the Government. So, if the contract is cancelled, they will get less money from the NHAI. Now, the lenders do not want NHAI to cancel the project as they have to chase the road developer – DSC Ltd – for the repayment, who is already financially stressed.

Indications are that the issue has been referred to Chief Vigilance Commissioner and the Enforcement Directorate to pursue whether the road developer had used inter-corporate deposit route to transfer funds from the escrow account, where toll money received from project were kept.


October date for Khasmahal-Asanboni road project

September 25, 2013

B Sridhar, TNN |

JAMSHEDPUR: The Rs 6.5-crore Khasmahal-Asanboni road project will finally see the light of day after it was postponed thrice. Construction of the 12.5km road will start next month.Project work got delayed as it failed to attract private road construction agencies owing to its modest budget. But authorities finally roped in few players after the project was split into three parts.”Two road construction firms have agreed to take up the project after the length of the road was split into three equal parts (4km). Each of the two selected companies will construct the road in phases,” said an official of the Rural Engineering Organization, Jamshedpur division.The project, which was approved in February during President’s Rule, got delayed thrice after tender was issued in March for the first time.

It was after the demand from local MP Ajay Kumar and Potka and Jugsalai legislators, Menaka Sardar and Ramchandra Sahis respectively, that the then DC of East Singhbhum Himani Pandey asked the concerned department to prepare a project estimate for the road construction work and sent it to the state headquarters for approval.

“The construction work will commence from October and in six months time it would be completed,” said executive engineer of Rural Engineering Organization Rameshwar Kumar.

One of the busy streets on the fringes of the city which has thousands of vehicles particularly bi-cycles, two-wheelers and passenger mini buses plying on it during the day, the road was in dire need of re-construction for the past several years.

With the construction of the rundown road, the near one lakh residents of Khasmahal, Sarjamda, Barigora, Rahargora, Gadra and Asanboni area will benefit the most.

With two Greenfield projects, Bhushan Power and Steel Company Ltd’s 3MTPA integrated steel plant and 900MW captive power plant and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd’s 5MTPA steel plant coming up in Potka-Ghatshila stretch in the district, the proposed road is likely to witness manifold increase in traffic movement in the near future.

Indian firm wins contract to help build highway in Ethiopia

September 17, 2013



An India-based consulting company has won a $1.46 million contract for consultation and supervision of the construction of the 133 km Kombolcha-Mille highway project in Ethiopia.

The company, Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats Pvt. Ltd. (ICT) is working in a joint venture with the Ethiopia-based Civil Works Consulting Engineers. It has been in Ethiopia for 17 years and has undertaken more than 25 road projects with the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA). “We have worked with ERA on various projects like this and we never failed them, I guess that is why we are going to undertake this project as well,” Saurabh Sharma, country manager of the company, told IANS.


Indian firm wins contract to help build highway in Ethiopia

Indian firm wins contract to help build highway in Ethiopia “The fact that the people we are working with are polite and ready to learn keep us going back to work with them,” he said adding, “Indian companies are known for delivering projects on time”. ICT India won the bid against five companies. “ICT India offered a lower price and, at the same time, surpassed other competitors in the technical evaluation,” an ERA official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

At this point, the road exists in the form of a gravel road. “It will thus be upgraded to asphalt, which will smoothly and efficiently accommodate traffic flow and enhance the region’s economic activities,” said the official. “The project that connects the Amhara Regional State with the Afar Regional State will be funded with a loan acquired from the World Bank (WB),” he said. The road is expected to be used as an import-export route as it would reduce the travel time to the Port of Djibouti. Sharma said his company is planning to participate more in international projects to increase its business.
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