Logistics

NHAI considers outsourcing toll collection as road builders want early exit

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on May 27, 2013 Published on May 27, 2013

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is considering changes in certain contract formats for building national highways. Under the new format, toll collection could be the responsibility of a separate contractor and not the road builder.

Such a step was necessitated after several private contractors found toll collection was not a viable proposition for such projects.

According to Rohit Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary (Highways), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, his department has chalked out a fresh policy to find a competent contractor to carry out toll collection operations, once the original contractor wishes to leave after constructing a road project.

“In the current concession agreement (after 2009), the lead member of the consortium will have to hold on to its 26 per cent equity for two years after the date of commercial operations…We are planning a new policy: once the first contractor moves out after commercial operations, an equally competent contractor will operate and collect toll for the rest of the agreement’s period,” Singh said here on Monday.

He was speaking to reporters at an infrastructure seminar, Infra Vision East 2013, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The policy is yet to be approved, Singh added.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) recently approached the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) seeking leniency in contract policies with infrastructure companies to save stranded road projects.

According to the Joint Secretary, this particular solution, however, may raise issues like whether the existing concession agreement will be in place or a new agreement will be agreed upon.

Discussions are also on between NHAI and CCI for “rescheduling” the premium payment by the developers, keeping the premium amount unchanged.

Approvals

Singh said that the CCI recently directed that environmental and forest clearances for highway development projects should be given within a stipulated time. The Reserve Bank of India, he added, has decided to declare loans to PPP projects as “secure” to smoothen difficulties over financing projects.

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Published on May 27, 2013
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