Nagpur/NewDelhi: To fast track building of highways, the Central government on Friday cleared projects worth about Rs. 17,000 crore to be awarded before March.
As many as 18 projects for building about 1,000 kms of highways, including nine on the recently approved hybrid annuity mode, were approved in a meeting on Friday chaired by Road Transport and Highways Secretary Sanjay Mitra.
“Eighteen projects were approved in Expenditure Finance Committee/Standing Finance Committee meeting today. These projects for Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattishgarh and Punjab entail an investment of about Rs. 17,000 crore,” Mr Mitra said.
These projects under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) and other schemes will be bid out by March, he added.
The projects under EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) mode include the Rs. 1,249-crore Bar-Bilara-Jodhpur stretch on NH112 in Rajasthan, the Rs. 1,453-crore Mukkola Junction-Kerala stretch in Kerala, the Rs. 426-crore Kamrej-Chaltan stretch on NH8 in Gujarat and the Rs. 813-crore Aligarh-Muradabad stretch in Uttar Pradesh.
The other projects on EPC mode are Rs. 1,070 crore end of Jalandhar bypass-Hoshiarpur-Punjab/Himachal Pradesh border in Punjab and Rs. 995 crore Karnataka/AP border to Gooty section on NH67 in Andhra Pradesh besides Rs. 1,102 and Rs. 491 crore projects in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, respectively.
The only BOT (build-operate-transfer) project pertains to Rs. 1,280 crore Dhule to Aurangabad section of NH 211 in Maharashtra, he said.
The remaining projects approved today are under the recently approved hybrid annuity mode in which the government will provide 40 per cent of the grants-in-aid.
The Cabinet had last month approved hybrid annuity model for building roads to fast-track highway projects, revive the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode and attract more investments in the sector.
Under this model, the government provides 40 per cent of the project cost to the developer while remaining 60 per cent investment has to be made by the developer.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had recently said, “No one (private players) was ready to participate in the PPP-based projects as they had lost faith (in the previous government).”
“However, to encourage private participation, we have also introduced a hybrid model, where we will share the risk with them.”
The Secretary said that majority of land acquisition has been done for the projects and work will begin next week.
He added that most of the projects pertain to widening of roads that include four and six-laning of National Highways.
The projects under hybrid annuity mode include Rs. 549-crore and Rs. 633-crore ring roads/bypasses for Nagpur city, the Rs. 829-crore Taleja to Mahuva section, the Rs. 764-crore Mahuva to Kagavadar section, the Rs. 719-crore Kagavadar to Una section and the Rs. 758-crore Una to Kodinar section in Gujarat.
The projects for Odisha approved under hybrid annuity mode on Friday include the Rs. 1,312.49-crore Singhara-Binjhabahal section and the Rs. 1,312.46-crore Binjhabahal-Telebani section.
No Cabinet approval was required for the projects cleared on Friday as the government, in a bid to fast-track highways projects, had recently empowered Road Transport and Highways Ministry to approve projects with civil construction cost up to Rs. 1,000 crore.
It has made it clear that civil construction cost would be segregated from capital cost of projects.
This was done to reduce time as multiple stages of examination and appraisal of the same project by different Ministry/Department/Committees caused delays in award of National Highways projects.
Taking note of such difficulties and with a view to minimise levels of decision making, the CCEA has empowered the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to decide on the change in the mode of delivery of individual NH projects.
The Secretary said that efforts are on to avoid delays in the process of appraisal and approval of National Highway projects and the government is making all efforts to achieve the target to award 10,000 kms in the fiscal year.
– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( email@example.com )