Operator agrees to repay Rs 367 crore to lenders

Commuters on the Delhi-Gurgaon toll road need not pay charges till Tuesday.

A team of experts has also been asked to provide a report on the steps proposed by the operator DS Constructions to improve traffic flow on the stretch.

The Punjab-Haryana High Court had stopped toll operations on the stretch connecting Delhi and Gurgaon for 15 days starting September 5, due to the operator’s inability to ensure smooth traffic flow.

out-of-court settlement

With this, the fate of toll road operator continues to hang in balance.

This is despite the settlement in another legal tangle involving DS Construction in the Delhi High Court, which ended earlier this week with an out-of-court settlement.

In the out-of-court settlement, the operator agreed to return Rs 367 crore to IDFC and four other public sector banks.

The banks will be now be senior lenders to the project for a debt of Rs 1,203 crore – down from Rs 1,597 crore.

In the Delhi High Court case, one of National Highway Authority of India’s (NHAI) contention was that the special purpose vehicle of DS Constructions — Delhi Gurgaon Superconnectivity Ltd — got a loan of Rs 1,597 crore in 2010 after project completion without NHAI’s approval.

Moreover, it also transferred a part of the funds to the other Group companies at a lower cost.

USER’s GAIN

On Wednesday, there was a discussion between NHAI, DS Constructions and the Haryana Government.

It sought solutions beyond what DS Construction had asked for in the Delhi High Court agreement such as waiving the Rs 1,500 fee on tag users, over and above slashing the cost of monthly charges by one third.

On the design side, more lanes will be introduced, with four designated reversible lanes to allow traffic movement in either direction.

Also, there will people with hand-held devices to collect toll from users in queue. The Court may be requested to allow the police to penalise errant non-tag users who drive into tag lanes.

mamuni.das@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 20, 2012)
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