NHAI, ministry agree on realistic highway award targets

November 12, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |

NEW DELHI: Government on Monday approved flexibility to award highway projects on public funding mode, or EPC, where private players are not bidding for works on public-private partnership (PPP) model. At a review meeting – chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh – it was decided that the highways ministry and NHAI won’t rush to award more projects simply to achieve targets.

The ministry has reduced its award targets drastically on both PPP and EPC modes. Against the original target of awarding about 3,200 km on PPP model, NHAI and the ministry have awarded only 700 km. Similarly, while the target to award on EPC was kept at 6,950 km, it has been whittled down to around 5,000 km.

“We are hopeful of awarding about another 1,000 km on EPC of the 2,000 km that NHAI had planned to bid out on PPP mode after the PM and finance minister has favoured our stand. We submitted how there is a need to go slow and to shift to EPC mode since private players are not putting bids for quite some time,” said a senior ministry official.

Though officials also submitted that the ministry and NHAI are in a position to invite tenders for three expressway projects – Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Delhi-Meerut and Mumbai-Vadodara – they are unsure whether there will be bids on PPP mode.

Meanwhile, department of economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram said that the bad patch for private investment in infrastructure will pass. Speaking on sidelines of Indian Roads Congress (IRC) convention, he said private investment will resume in the next six-eight months as economic condition has started improving.

Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi also admitted that private investment has fallen significantly due to global financial situation. “During our mid-term review we will consider whether there is a need to rework the financing model to increase government funding. Obviously, we now want more projects to be on EPC mode,” he added.



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