11 Nov 2012

NHAI asks authorities to work out modalities

Gurgaon, November 10
Claiming the Haryana Government’s proposed “buy back” of the Delhi Gurgaon Expressway to be “too tricky and difficult”, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has asked the Gurgaon Municipal Corporation, HUDA and the PWD Department to study and work out the modalities of the proposal along with its technical experts. The Special Technical Committee, whose report will play a pivotal role in a decision over buy out, was formed last evening at a special meeting where the Haryana Government formally offered to buy the expressway.

The state, which had earlier talked about two toll plazas, Kherki Daula and Sirhaul, proposed purchasing the entire expressway in a bid to ease traffic flow on 27.7-km stretch NHAI, however, claimed it was difficult or virtually not feasible.

“Its not just the Haryana Government, but the Delhi Government, NHAI, Delhi High Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court, DGSCL and bankers also, who have lent funds for the project who are to be involved in any such decision. So a lot needs to be taken into account even before having first thought about this proposal. Haryana has already signed a MoU with the concessionaire before the Delhi High Court to improve traffic flow in a time-bound manner. So it will also be one of the legal aspects, which we need to review. Moreover, we don’t see any merit or special advantage in allowing the buy out as our only aim is smooth traffic flow, which can be achieved by other hassle-free measures,” said an official.

Sources said one of the major hurdles in the government’s proposal was the fact that the concession agreement did not have any buy back provision. It only had provisions for force majure and termination of contract with ample details about the compensation that the NHAI had to give to the concessionaire in case of force majure.

Meanwhile, the Haryana Government has also proposed to expedite the process of putting toll plazas on electronic toll collection mode for faster clearance of traffic, which has apparently got the thumbs up from authorities concerned though an official nod is still awaited.

While the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) insists that the cost of the proposed buy out of expressway can only be calculated after negotiation between all stakeholders – banks and the two state governments, Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited, the project operator, has pegged its share at Rs 2,000 crore. Sources said the company, which was too eager to sign this deal planned to claim Rs 2,000 crore in lieu of collecting toll on the key expressway till 2023. As per the existing contract, the concessionaire can collect toll on the expressway till 2023.


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