Arunachal BJP for ‘defence’ road near China border

October 29, 2013


ITANAGAR: The state BJP unit on Monday demanded that the Centre immediately construct an all-weather “defence” road in Anjaw district of the state keeping in view the threat perception from China in the wake of the recent incursion at Plam Plam near Chaglagam on August 11.”New Delhi should seriously consider the plight of people living along the border areas,” state BJP president Tai Tagak said at a press conference here on Monday.

He said the Centre should immediately construct the 60km stretch of road from Bomten village to the last border post at Chaglagam in Anjaw district.

A BJP team led by Tagak went for a trip to Lohit and Anjaw districts on October 19 to honour Indian soldiers who had laid their lives in the Walong sector during the 1962 Sino-Indian War as part of the party’s Shahid Shradhanjali Yatra.

“We are demanding that the state government construct a war memorial in Itanagar in honour and recognition of the 1,600 soldiers who lost their lives during the Chinese aggression in the Walong sector,” Tagak said.

The team also trekked several kilometers to visit the last Indian village of Kahoo in Anjaw district and collected farming tools from villagers for BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s dream project to construct a statue of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Ballabhai Patel, in Gujarat.

“The statue to be named as the Statue of Unity would be the world’s tallest statue after the Statue of Liberty,” Tagak said.

The team, while interacting with the villagers, came across several loopholes in projects being implemented in the border areas of both the districts, including supply of essentials under the public distribution system, Tagak added.

The party demanded proper augmentation and overhaul of health and education sectors along the borders.

Surat-Nashik road connectivity on the cards

October 28, 2013

Tushar Pawar, TNN

NASHIK: Road connectivity between Surat and Nashik is set to improve, with the Gujarat government taking up paving work of the Surat-Nashik Road, Gujarat principal secretary S S Rathore said in Nashik on Saturday.

Rathore, principal secretary, department of roads & buildings of the Gujarat government, was attending a engineers’ award presentation at the Nashik centre of The Institution of Engineers (India) on Saturday. “We are focusing on improving connectivity between Gujarat and Maharashtra, from Surat to Saputra, which is the border of Gujrat adjacent to Nashik district. We have already handed over a road to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for widening. Around 98 per cent work has already been completed, while the rest of the stretch before Saputara is to be developed shortly,” Rathore said at the programme.

Rathore said, “We are planning to develop 18,000 km of roads across the state of Gujarat over the next few years. We have improved connectivity between districts. We have also improved road connectivity in 98 per cent of villages. We have decided to resurface roads that are over seven years old.”

S Subrahmanyan, managing director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said, “There are several technological challenges and engineers must focus on finding solutions over these. They must be innovative to bring quality and competitiveness.”

Sanjay Khandare, Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) commissioner also attended the event.

Various engineering awards instituted by the Nashik local centre of The Institution of Engineers (India) were presented at the event to Anil Lodha, Nayana S Rao, Rajesh Atmaram Patil, Chandrashekhar N Kulkarni, Rajan Bhagawat, professor Prakash Kadave, Naresh Sahare, Vikas Agrawal, Ghanashyam Patil, Atul Jadhav, Sopan Talekar, Shrikant Agarkar, Smita Paithankar, Manisha Suryavanshi and Priyanka Shirude.



NHAI nod to L&T’s Singapore plans, co to list six toll road projects

October 25, 2013



NHAI nod to L&T’s Singapore plans, co plans to list six toll road projects
(NHAI nod to L&T’s Singapore plans, co plans to list six toll road projects)

NEW DELHI: The National Highways Authority of India board has approved engineering and construction firm L&T’s plans to set up a business trust in Singapore and list six toll road projects on theSingapore stock exchange that could raise up to $1 billion.The business trust will be set by the firm’s subsidiary L&T Infra Development Projects Ltd (IDPL) and the parent company can offload its equity in these six road projects to the trust, persons familiar with the matter told ET.The trust will have to form a special purpose vehicle, which will float or issue units to investors on these assets through an initial public offer. The trust will then issue debt instruments in the form of debentures to the SPVs undertaking these highway projects, said the persons, who did not wish to be named.

This will be implemented as a policy measure so that other developers looking at a similar route can follow suit, they said.

“Infrastructure stocks on the Indian stock market are not doing too well whereas the Singapore stock market is and they have mature investors who can handle long-term investments. While this will be subject to many factors including the Singapore stock exchange allowing it, if it is successful it will be a positive development since other developers can use it as an additional source of funding for their projects,” said Abhaya Agarwal, partner-infrastructure and PPP at consulting firm EY.

The six road projects include the Rs 1370 crore Krishnagiri-Walajahpet project in Tamil Nadu which is under implementation and five other completed projects including the Vadodara-Bharuch, Palanpur-Swaroopganj, Krishnagiri-Thopur projects and the Panipat elevated corridor.

The business trust model is similar to REIT or real estate investment trust model which offers revenue-generating real estate to investors.

A spokesperson of L&T told ET, “The company does not comment on market speculation.” L&T IDPL did not respond to the questionnaire sent by ET.

The NHAI board’s approval is subject to certain checks and balances which it has said the company must follow including that the company must get a legal opinion on the matter and the interest rate at which the trust lends to the SPVs must not be more than the interest rate it pays to its current lenders. In addition, the foreign exchange risk must be borne by the trust, it has specified.

“Road projects are public assets and in any case of equity transfer of more than 15%, it has to be approved by NHAI. Also, refinancing or changes in debt structure have also to be approved by us,” said an official familiar with the matter.



Muncicipal corporation to begin road repairs next week

October 21, 2013


KOLKATA: After an aborted attempt to repair the city’s roads before the Pujas, the civic body is gearing up to take up the job next week.

Earlier, mayor Sovan Chatterjee had asked the Kolkata Muncicipal Corporation (KMC) roads department officials to undertake the repair drive by September 29. The deadline was set after consultation with urban development minister Firhad Hakim. Though the work had started on a war footing after both the mayor and the minister surveyed the worst stretches, the repairs could not be completed due to frequent rain before the Pujas.

 But now, the repair plan has been revived by the KMC roads department. According to plans, the KMC will start with two major connector roads to the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass.

“First, we will take up the Anwar Shah Road connector. Large stretches of this vital road are lying in a sorry state. We had tried to repair some of these before the Pujas. But those were merely patchworks. Now we will concentrate on thorough repairs. We have also decided to lay parts of the road with mastic asphalt,” said a KMC roads department official.

After completion of the Anwar Shah Road connector, the civic body will take up the Rashbehari Avenue connector, the official said. “We have to spend around Rs 5crore in the first phase of repair of these two major connectors,” the civic official said.

However, the drive won’t include Diamond Harbour Road, sources in the KMC roads department said on Saturday. “Diamond Harbour Road belongs to state PWD. They have a separate plan for its repair,” said Susanta Ghosh, the MMiC overseeing the KMC roads department.

A PWD official said only patchwork will be done on some stretches of DH Road. “At this point, we can’t undertake thorough repair of the road as the Metro extension work is on and the contractors need to dig the road further,” the PWD official said.

The KMC, however, has plans to repair other roads, too. “We plan to repair Seven Tanks Lane and Bowbazar Street. We had tried to do some patchwork on these roads before the festive season. We also plan to repair Amherst Street, JL Nehru Road, Deshapran Sashmal Road and Anwar Shah Road, among others,” said a KMC roads department official.

These apart, the civic body will also take up repair of roads along tram tracks like Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, Nirmal Chandra Street and Rabindra Sarani, among others.



Elevated road and rail projects to decongest Thane-Kalyan corridor

October 18, 2013

Agency: DNA |

Ateeq Shaikh
Pic for representational purpose.

Pic for representational purpose. – A Veeramani/DNA


After contemplating the idea of having an elevated road between Bandra and Dahisar, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) now plans to build an elevated rail and road link between Thane and Kalyan.

Speaking todna, SM Ramchandani, the joint managing director of MSRDC, said, “There is a plan to have an elevated road along National Highway 3, that is the Thane-Bhiwandi Bypass Road, for which we have floated bids for consultancy services.”

The consultant is likely to be appointed by the end of this month, who in turn will carry out a feasibility study including a ground survey, cost estimation, financial model, among other things.

In fact, even the Indian Railways has expressed interest in being part of the project by stating that the elevated road corridor can also accommodate a railway line.

The planned elevated link will be around 22-25km long, with entry and exit ramps in between.

The purpose of the project would be to decongest the increasing traffic due to rising population in the far-flung areas of Mumbai.

The state has been focusing on creating new Central Business Districts in the Mumbai metropolitan region, keeping the larger picture of decongestion of Mumbai in mind. However, due to the large cost associated with this elevated rail and road project, it is unlikely that it will be constructed in the near future.

Another official said that the plan is currently in the nascent stage and it should not be considered that the project will take off in the next couple of years.




Road developers eye max relief from govt

September 27, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |


 NEW DELHI: Private highway developers are trying to extract maximum relief from government, citing the continuing economic gloom that has impacted their projects. Developers want government to allow rescheduling of annual premium payment for all the 39 projects awarded since April 1, 2010, including projects which have taken off. Premium is annual upfront amount that developers pay to NHAI.NHAI has forwarded the fresh proposal of developers to the highways ministry at a time when Cabinet is likely to consider the premium rescheduling of 23 “stressed” projects where work has not yet started. A top ministry official said they have returned the proposal to NHAI and have asked it to put it before the authority’s board, which has representatives from road, Planning Commission and the finance ministry.


After receiving a proposal from the National Highway Builders Federation (NHBF) and IRB Infra that the proposed premium rescheduling scheme should be extended to all premium projects, NHAI has asked the ministry to put a supplementary note for Cabinet’s consideration. It has said half of estimated toll revenues have been hit due to the economic slowdown.

Source -

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.

Govt to set up infra trust funds to spur investments

September 24, 2013

Road Ministry to award 6,500 km of projects on EPC basis in 2013-14

The Union government is looking to set up an infrastructure trust fund, similar to real estate investment trusts in countries such as Singapore, by November to spur investments in the infrastructure sector.

India’s infrastructure sector has been struggling for the past few years due to lack of investments as banks have been wary of lending due to policy constraints.The government is looking to improve investments in the sector even as the parliamentary elections are less than a year away.

Under the infrastructure trusts, the underlying revenue of a projectwill be transferred to a trust, which will issue units to investors, including foreign investors who want to buy the units.

“A major reason why some PPP (public-private partnership) projects in the infrastructure sector have run into problems is that many private partners did not price the risk in projects over a 25-year time frame. We are looking to set up an infrastructure trust fund in two months to ensure long-term management of projects,” said Arvind Mayaram, secretary, department of economic affairs.

Mayaram added the government was looking to develop the corporate bond market and encourage the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to invest in infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, in a move to boost investments in the road sector, the ministry of road transport and highways is also looking to award close to 6,500 km of road projects through the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode in 2013-14.

“We are planning to award 6,500 km of road projects on the EPC basis this year,” said Vijay Chhibber, secretary, ministry of roads.

The ministry has been actively looking to award projects on the EPC basis for the past few years as a number of projects have been struggling since they were awarded on the build-operate-transfer (BoT) model. The ministry will also award three major expressway projects by the end of the year, according to Chhibber.

The move comes at a time when the road ministry has been able to award only 1,400 km of road projects against a target of 9,500 km in the last financial year.

Under the EPC model, the government spends the entire money required to build roads unlike the BoT mode, where the constructor builds a project and charges a toll on the same.

The ministry has also said an independent road regulator will be in place before the end of the year and the authority is expected to play an adjudicatory role and advice the government on existing road projects in addition to working on the toll mechanism in the country.

“There have been contrarian views on a road regulator and we think we need a road regulator’, Chhibber said.

Road projects in the country have been held up since the past few years due to various reasons, including the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. The government had awarded close to 3,055 km through the EPC mode in 2005-06, but has since managed to award less than 500 km through the EPC route. Meanwhile, BoT projects continued to perform better during the years and the ministry managed to award more than 6,400 km in 2011-12 alone.

Meanwhile, the government is also looking to set up a fund to promote debt and equity investment in the infrastructure sector. “There will be greater deepening of the equity and bond markets for financing the infrastructure sector in the next few months,” Mayaram said.

The government is also looking to set up an International Trust Fund where the underlying revenue of a project will be transferred to a trust which will issue units to investors, including foreign investors who want to buy the units, he added.


Oscar Fernandes urged to enhance road connectivity

September 24, 2013

TNN | Sep 23, 2013, 11.25 PM IST

MYSORE: The tourist hub requires improved road connectivity and the Centre will focus on it, said Oscar Fernandes, Union road transport and highways minister, here on Monday.Referring to the demand to upgrade state highway connecting Mysore to Malavalli as a national highway, the minister said that he will do it. “That should serve Mysore better,” he told reporters.

Chamaraja MLA Vasu and Mysore Chamber of Commerce & Industry team met the minister and submitted a memorandum, seeking improved connectivity to Mysore. They urged him to connect Mysore to Malavalli so that travellers between Mysore and Bangalore have an alternative route. This is because, NH-209, that connects Bangalore to Dindigul in Tamil Nadu, passes through Malavalli. They claimed that the stretch between Mysore and Malavalli is a missing link.

In his petition, Vasu has pointed out that Mysore is missed out from NHs’ network though two busiest highways – NH-212 and NH-209 — pass close to it. “People have been demanding that NHs provide connectivity to Mysore,” he said.

The minister said that projects in Karnataka are in focus, and connectivity is his main concern. “But the problem is land acquisition,” he said, adding that NH projects will be hastened following a clarification from the apex court that roadside trees do not require environment clearance.

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