IRB Infrastructure commences operations on Jaipur-Deoli toll project

October 10, 2013

By PTI |

IRB Infra today announced it has commenced operations on its Rs 1,733-crore Jaipur-Deoli build-operate-transfer (BOT) project.
(RB Infra today announced it has commenced operations on its Rs 1,733-crore Jaipur-Deoli build-operate-transfer (BOT) project.)


MUMBAI: IRB Infrastructure Developers   today announced it has commenced operations on its Rs 1,733-crore Jaipur-Deoli build-operate-transfer (BOT) project.Implemented by its wholly-owned special purpose vehicle called IRB Jaipur Deoli Tollways, the company has begun partial toll collection from September 27, a statement said.

The company had and sought viability gap funding of Rs 306 crore from the National Highways Authority of India ( NHAI). The concession period for the project is 25 years.


NHAI refers Gurgaon e-way toll collection case to EoW

October 7, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police will look into the under-reporting of toll collection by Gurgaon expressway operators, which has allegedly caused a Rs 24 crore loss to the NHAI.

EoW officers said there would be raids across the concerned offices and sleuths would collect the accounts register to establish the concessional shares of respective parties.

Alleging this as “breach of trust” NHAI has complained that the operator DGSCL resorted to “dishonesty” by diverting toll for its own use. NHAI has said the concessionaire, its directors, officers and other persons were party to “criminal conspiracy” with intent of fraud.

NHAI referred the case after the highways ministry asked it to lodge a criminal case against the operator as it was first reported in TOI on Tuesday. The ministry had issued this advisory after TOI had reported how a week-long study of traffic flow at 32-lane toll plaza in July had exposed average underreporting of at least 79,000 daily. The daily toll collection was less by Rs 15.58 lakh during that period.

The authority has also alleged DGSCL of committing forgery of valuable securities by making false documents and electronic records, book of accounts etc for underreporting of toll and used them as “genuine”.

NHAI has also said that Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had directed it in July 2011 to investigate the toll issue and subsequently in December that year they had appointed KPMG to carry out traffic study. NHAI in its complaint to EoW has claimed the operator never cooperated citing some “trivial” reasons until July this year.

“The complaint has just come to us. It suggests that there is a dispute of share distribution of collections. We will have take help of our financial experts in probing this particular matter,” said a senior EoW officer.

DGSCL in a statement again refuted the traffic numbers put by KPMG through their manual counting process. “It appears that KPMG has not done any traffic count study but has only presented the figures provided to them by a third party vendor, which is a security service company. Our toll plazas are equipped with the most advanced automatic vehicle classification and counting (AVCC) system which is completely computerized and there is no scope for human error or intervention. We are scrutinizing the manual data given to us and once the data is proven to be incorrect we would take strong action against the parties responsible for this,” a company spokesperson 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.


RTC strike takes ‘toll’ on NHAI revenue

September 18, 2013

V Kamalakara Rao, TNN |


VISAKHAPATNAM: The ongoing Samaikyandhra strike by the employee unions of AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has made a dent in the revenues of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). With 2,849 APSRTC buses off the roads since the midnight of August 12 in the Vizianagaram zone alone, NHAI has lost out on toll charges of Rs 82.3 lakh from the state-owned transport corporation till August 26 in the four districts of Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari.

All the 27 depots falling under the Vizianagaram zone comprising Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts daily operate 2,849 buses, including 2,271 RTC-owned and 578 hired buses, to various parts of the state and other key destinations like Chennai and Bangalore. All these 27 depots pay Rs 6.3 lakh daily to NHAI towards toll gate charges.

APSRTC’s Vizianagaram zone pays Rs 1.9 crore monthly to NHAI towards the toll gate charges for their buses plying on national highways such as NH-26, 30, 40, 71 and even NH-16 from Chennai to Kolkata passing through parts of the north coastal districts. APSRTC’s Visakhapatnam region alone pays Rs 65 lakh per month to NHAI by way of toll charges, while East Godavari region pays Rs 71 lakh and Vizianagaram region (comprising depots of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts) pays Rs 54 lakh monthly.

For instance, an RTC bus from Visakhapatnam is supposed to cross 12 toll gates to reach Chennai, 11 toll gates for Bangalore, 10 toll gates for Hyderabad and five toll gates for Vijayawada. Similarly, an RTC bus from Visakhapatnam to Srikakulam is supposed to cross two toll gates and three toll gates for Palasa or Icchapuram.

Confirming the revenue loss, NHAI project director, VK Vijaya Sri, who takes care of 7 toll plazas on the 330-km stretch of NH-16 from Icchapuram in Srikakulam (Odisha and Andhra Pradesh border) to Tuni in Visakhapatnam district, said that NHAI had seen its revenues shrink over the last 13 days due to the RTC strike. “We are losing around 30-50% of our tollgate collections every day since the strike, largely due to the lack of APSRTC buses,” Vijaya Sri said.

Though NHAI garners revenue from the other transport vehicles like lorries, trucks and cars, APSRTC accounts for 50 to 60% of NHAI’s total monthly revenue through toll gate charges levied on various national highways in the state, said a senior NHAI official. “The RTC’s strike is having its impact on the Centre’s revenues through NHAI. If the stir continues like this for one month, NHAI will lose about Rs 25 crore across the state due to non-collection of toll charges from APSRTC,” the official said.

When contacted, APSRTC Vizianagaram zone executive director A Ramakrishna said that the zone was indirectly saving money by not paying toll gate charges to the NHAI because of the strike. The zone monthly pays about Rs 1.9 crore only towards tollgate charges. “Though we are able to save money due to non-payment of tollgate and fuel charges due to the strike, the zone is losing nearly Rs 2.8 to 3 crore on a daily basis due to all the buses not plying on the road. Overall, the zone has lost Rs 50 crore due to the protests and strike since July 31 following the Congress Working Committee’s announcement on July 30,” Ramakrishna told TOI.

Fernandes lauds HT campaign, bats for toll-free model

September 9, 2013


Sanjeev K Ahuja and Anupam Thapa, Hindustan Times  New Delhi,

Lauding HT’s efforts to bring to light the issues plaguing commuters on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, Union minister for road transport and highways Oscar Fernandes has acknowledged the fact that the toll plazas have failed to deliver and hoped that the court delivers a favourable verdict in public interest.

The senior Congress leader on Tuesday congratulated the Hindustan Times team for carrying out relentless campaigns on the expressway and its toll plazas when the team met with him in New Delhi to hand over the petitions addressed to him by thousands of disgruntled commuters. He also went through a news report from HT’s ongoing “Taking a Toll” campaign which was started on July 29.

 “There are reports that commuters are harassed at various toll plazas on various roads, but the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is a different case as we see traffic jams on a daily basis here. This issue is being discussed in the high court and we hope that the decision would come in favour of the commuters. In the case of the expressway, people do not mind paying toll of R21 but they fail to get the benefit of paying the same,” said Fernandes.

The Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka said that his ministry planned to launch a pilot project to test electronic tolling system, which would allow commuters to cross toll plazas without halting, and it, he said, would be implemented across all the national highways if it was successful.

While endorsing his support for the proposed toll-free model in which the commuters are not charged toll and the operator instead earns revenue out of non-toll options such as rentals out of real estate rights and advertisements, Fernandes said that this proposal could be tried as it did not affect revenue inflow for the operator.

The ministry of road transport and highways has zeroed in on Hero Honda crossing on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and Delhi-Dhasna Road for the project where the operator would be given out realty rights.

The commuters here would not have to pay toll for a trouble-free ride. “It is a good proposal as it does not affect the revenue intake and the commuter also does not need to pay toll,” said Fernandes.



Stop toll collection on roads that miss work deadline, NHAI says

September 3, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |

Stop toll collection on roads that miss work deadline, NHAI says
NHAI wants to suspend toll collection on stretches where work has fallen way behind schedule.

NEW DELHI: Faced with massive criticism over its decision allowing highway developers to charge toll on road widening projects even during the construction phase, the National Highways Authority of India wants to suspend toll collection on stretches where work has fallen way behind schedule.

NHAI has sought in-principle approval for the move from the road transport and highways ministry, citing the example of the Gurgaon-Jaipur stretch of NH-8 where the widening work has missed several deadlines. The authority says it has been receiving a number of representations from the public, questions in Parliament and adverse media attention over the messy state of this road.

TOI has been campaigning for toll to be suspended on the Gurgaon-Jaipur road, which is being widened from four lanes to six lanes, because users have a harrowing time negotiating the stretch and also have to pay for the inconvenience. Once the proposal gets the ministry’s nod, NHAI wants to apply the no-toll penalty on the developer of the Gurgaon-Jaipur highway before taking similar action on other “languishing” projects.

Among other major works that have missed several deadlines is the Panipat-Jalandhar six-laning project, which is now in the Supreme Court. Widening of the Faridabad-Agra stretch has recently started where the developer is charging toll.

As per the contract norms, developers are allowed to charge full toll on stretches being expanded from four to six lanes from the day NHAI allows work to start. The model has come under criticism for allowing developers to keep getting revenue despite failing to meet deadlines.

NHAI wants the no-toll penalty to apply to cases where the private developer has failed to properly maintain the stretch and missed completion targets despite the land being acquired for the work.

In such situations, the current contracts empower NHAI to take over the stretch and collect toll. But since this does not bring any relief to road users, who still have to pay toll for travelling through substandard and congested stretches, NHAI has suggested stopping toll collection as a deterrent for consistent defaulters.

“Since the contract agreement does not have a provision of suspending toll, we have sought permission from the ministry. This is an issue of public interest,” said a senior NHAI official.

Sources said that in such cases the contract period can be extended for developers.

A top ministry official expressed reservations over the proposal although he told TOI he had not read NHAI’s letter yet. “How can such a decision be taken just like that? The authority has never raised this issue in the past. Such a proposal should first be considered by the NHAI board since it involves contracts, private developers and bankers,” he added.

Officials said the issue involved finances and there were questions over the developer’s ability to pay loan installments during the toll suspension period.

However, S P Singh of Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), who has taken up the issue of no-toll on incomplete stretches, said NHAI’s suggestion was justified. “Toll is not a tax, but a user fee, which simply means we pay toll only when the promised services are provided. Why should one pay toll until this commitment is met?” he asked.

‘Prayer on our lips, craters below, we crawled’

August 26, 2013

Rumu Banerjee & Durgesh Nandan Jha, TNN | Aug 24, 2013, 02.27 AM IST

NEW DELHI: About 69km from Delhi,Dharuhera is a tiny hamlet that is supposed to be a pit-stop at the most for those travelling from Delhi to Jaipur. However, with a 2km long jam at 8.30pm, Dharuhera is a nightmare. Stuck at one spot for 45 minutes, we wondered how long it would take us to reach Delhi on the patchwork of potholes that is NH-8. We were to discover it would be four hours!When we had left Delhi for Jaipur on a Monday morning, the brief was simple: get on NH-8 to Jaipur and see how long it takes. We expected some traffic, a few bottlenecks and a couple of diversions. The reality was starkly different and depressing. Diversions, under-construction flyovers, unfinished roads, deep craters in the middle of the carriageway and trucks parked on the side made NH-8 an obstacle course.When we set out at 7.30am, we had little idea it would be past midnight when we returned home. With a distance of about 252.7 km, Delhi to Jaipur is supposed to be a relatively short journey which once took around three-and-a-half to four hours. Four years after work was started on widening the highway to six lanes, it takes six to eight hours — one-way — on a good day. If you get stuck in the daily jam between Behror and Manesar, you get delayed even more.

We drove past DhaulaKuan and then the Gurgaon toll booth. The first congestion point was IFFCOChowk, where vehicles were caught in a snarl, made worse by the rain. By this time, it was already 9.30am and we were hoping to make it to Jaipurin the next four-five hours.It was not to be. Our ordeal started at Manesar, where the sudden proliferation of diversions because of the work on flyovers meant that roads became narrow, and extremely uneven. Most had rubble as well as big boulders. Our progress slowed down from 70kmph to less than 50kmph as two-wheelers, private vehicles and buses made their way through the partially constructed highway. The only silver lining: trucks were not on the road, leaving the space to buses and other traffic.At Behror, the local traffic ensured that we got virtually stalled as a lone traffic cop tried to sort out the mess. We reached Shahpura within the next hour where the road became smoother. We heaved a sigh of relief and decided to turn back since the roads had cleared out by now.

A nightmare awaited us at Paota, 173km from Delhi. A small town, it’s a halting point for private vehicles and trucks. Two flyovers are being constructed here, within 5km of each other. There are diversions but no signages. Vehicles have to be carefully manoeuvred around waterlogged potholes with deceptive depths. Slow moving vehicles hold up traffic even as shops and other commercial outlets come in the way. Ramavtar Singh, traffic-in-charge at Paota, says, “The village population has increased and the local traffic often spills over to the highway. On weekends, after 1.30pm, vehicles barely move along this stretch. Accidents are also common.”

Luckily for us, it was a Monday and we had crossed Paota before the trucks took over. With some luck, we managed to cross Kotputli in 20 minutes but the good feeling didn’t last long. Behror, located 133km from Delhi, was a killjoy. It is bigger than Paota and a midway point. Three consecutive flyovers – all under construction – have turned the stretch into an obstacle course.

The absence of a proper road for those on the way from Delhi to Jaipur to go to the midway means that all such vehicles – cars, buses, motorcycles and trucks – take a slip road below the flyover, that is an uneven stretch with large boulders, to go to the other side. They, obviously, then come in conflict with the traffic coming from the Jaipur side. Getting through this stretch took us more than half-an-hour. By this time, it was dark and we were praying for beating therush of trucks.

But trouble loomed ahead as we reached Neemrana – hundreds of trucks had taken over the road, several just parked on the wayside. The service lane seemed to be our only hope but it didn’t go all the way, forcing us back into the impregnable phalanx of trucks. The bustling industrial areas of Neemrana were, meanwhile, disgorging their own vehicles on to the road.

It was 7.30pm and Gurgaon was still 90km and two toll booths (Manesar and Gurgaon) away. The highway was illuminated only by the headlights of the vehicles and we had to constantly watch out for potholes and craters. At Asalwas, the lack of signages ensured that we almost missed a diversion, since only half the flyover had been completed and that too was closed. Now we were just weaving around trucks as if in a videogame.

At Dharuhera, things took a downward spiral. Many trucks were stuck, some having broken down along the way. The traffic just grew and grew with the Sohna road joining NH-8 at this point. Heavy waterlogging had only worsened the situation. Rooted to one spot for 45 minutes, we saw no hope. Our car, an Etios, swerved into a service lane when suddenly the SUV in front seemed to tilt very sharply. At the end of the lane was a massive crater. The SUV survived it and we simply prayed. Ten minutes and some gentle steering later, we had passed the test. Not yet. Over the next hour-and-half, Bilaspur and Manesar came back to haunt us.

By the time we reached the Manesar toll booth, it was 11pm and there was a long line of trucks and other vehicles. We spent 15 minutes here and were ready for more ahead. Miraculously, the traffic seemed to get better as we approached the Gurgaon toll booth. We reached Delhi at midnight.

STOP TAKING THIS TOLL-Business bypasses hotels as cars steer away from chaos

August 26, 2013

Rumu Banerjee & Durgesh Nandan Jha, TNN |

Behror Midway Restaurant And Its Shopping Arcade Are No Longer A Bustling Halt For Travellers Even As Many Other Shops Down Shutters

BEHROR: As you drive into the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation’s hotel in Behror, you find the entrance virtually deserted. A couple of cars are parked there, and a lone Volvo carrying passengers is waiting. It’s 6pm, time for most commuters travelling on the Delhi-Jaipur highway to stop for a cup of tea and snacks. At the RTDC restaurant though the tables are empty. “There was a time when buses had to park outside the hotel compound as the parking area would get filled. Now, we are lucky if we get more than 200 people in a day,” says Rajbir Singh, a member of the staff.

Once the main attraction of Behror town for travellers, the RTDC’s midway facility has become a casualty of the four-year long and haphazard construction work that has destroyed the Delhi-Jaipur highway. Located on one side of the carriageway (Jaipur-Delhi), the hotel now misses out on the traffic going from Delhi to Jaipur and barely manages to get some customers going in the other direction.

“The flyover is located right in front of the hotel, making it impossible for vehicles to come to this side of the road. There’s an underpass but that doesn’t connect with our hotel. The only way to reach us is to take a diversion that is located 2km away,” points out Atul Sethi, a shop owner who operates from the RTDC premises. But what has done the maximum damage to RTDC’s fortunes is the deplorable state of the road along the highway. “Most people don’t want to stop as the roads are so bad… everyone wants to rush through the traffic and leave the trucks behind,” rues Sethi.

With 22 rooms, the hotel was the ideal stopover before the highway reconstruction started, remembers Singh. “We used to do roaring business as all RTDC buses as well as private Volvos, besides the cars, stopped here. Now, we are left with only 10-15 per cent of that business,” says the head accountant. From a daily earning of Rs 2 lakh-2.5 lakh, it is down to a few thousands, complain RTDC staff.

Meanwhile, the shopping arcade at the RTDC midway – which used to be popular with tourists – is on the verge of closing down. “I have a lease on this shop till December after which I am leaving. There are few visitors and I’m not able to earn enough to pay the rent even,” adds Sethi. Other shop owners along the arcade nod as they recount similar tales. The lease rent of the arcade shops gives a glimpse of how popular this hotel used to be: the Rajasthan government had earlier fixed rents from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh, depending on the size of the shops. But with profits plummeting, the authorities claim the new rates will have to be reduced to 20 per cent of the original to keep it going. Other hotels along the highway have got similarly scarred. Rakesh

Yadav, manager at Highway King located in Shahpura, says, “Our business has gone down by 30-40 per cent. The poor road conditions, particularly during the rainy season, has prompted many travellers to switch to train or even flights,” says Yadav. The flip side, says Yadav, is that a number of small-time dhabas have come up along the highway. “But the big hotels have all taken a hit. Everyone is just hoping that the construction gets over fast,” he adds.

The virtually stalled road project has also ended job opportunities for the locals. Atul Kumar Singh, manager of a Reebok outlet near Shahpura, said initially they had six employees to run the showroom but now there were only four. “The company is contemplating shutting down this outlet if the profit margin does not go up,” said Singh. He remembers that earlier business was booming. “Many friends from my village got jobs at the shops that had opened up along the highway when business was good. Now all these shops are shutting down,” he added.

The damage to the highway has also dented the business of the buses running along the stretch. More than two dozen buses leave Bikaner House in Delhi daily for Jaipur. The bus operators say there are times when they have to leave with only 10-12 passengers. “It’s distressing to drive on these roads. Apart from getting stuck in traffic, we face problems like frequent damage to the suspension and other critical parts,” said one of the operators, who did not wish to be identified.

Property prices though are not affected, this stretch being a part of the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor. “The property rates in Shahpura have doubled. In the Neemrana industrial corridor, flats are being sold for as high as Rs 1.4 crore to Rs 2.5 crore. Buyers and investors have a long-term view,” said one of the builders.




Six Laning of expressway to be over in two years

May 17, 2013

Written by  Parvati Sharma

The journey between Ahmedabad and Vadodara is all set to become more comfortable as the project of six laning of the highway joining the two cities is expected to be over in the next two years. The work on the Rs 3,300 crore project has already

started and the financial closure is expected to be over soon. Sources said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is expediting the project as once completed, this will result in the entire Ahmedabad-Mumbai stretch being six-lane. “In fact, the four-lane expressway and the six-lane highway will be a bonanza for the travelers between the two cities. The people will have ten lanes connection at their disposal,” said an official. The project is to be executed under design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis in BOT (Toll) mode of delivery. “The road is expected to give an annual income of Rs 300 crores just from the toll,” said a source.

Another ambitious NHAI project nearing completion is the road connecting Ahmedabad with Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The work on Gujarat end is almost over and that on the other side is also being executed swiftly. “Once over, the journey from Ahmedabad to Indore will not take more than seven hours,” the source said. The source further said that the four laning of the road between Jetpur in Rajkot and Somnath in Junagadh is also nearing completion. This would mean that the entire stretch between Ahmedabad and Somnath would be four-lane. “There is a small issue pertaining to land acquisition on Junagadh by-pass which will be resolved soon,” the source added.



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