Stepping up centre’s efforts to revive private investment in the highways sector, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has identified 19 projects, involving a cumulative investment of around Rs 56,000 crore.
The projects will be offered in the build-operate-transfer (BOT-toll) mode.
These highway projects, covering a length of around 900 km, are spread across several states, including Assam, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, NHAI maintains.
A maximum of 13 such projects are in Maharashtra.
In BOT-toll projects, the contracts are for a longer period (15-20 years) and the contractors recover their investment from the toll collections. This makes the private players more accountable for the quality of construction.
According to the NHAI, it has learnt a lot from the success and failures of this contract model and the necessary changes are being introduced in the contract conditions to make it lucrative for private players.
There will be a meeting soon with the stakeholders to expedite the roll out of BOT projects, the authority said.
All the identified projects are financially viable considering the traffic flow on the stretches, NHAI maintains.
In the past nine years, subsequent to the government’s push for infrastructure-building by increasing public spending, several highway developers now have consolidated their positions in the market and many are keen to take up projects in this model, rather than remaining general contractors.
NHAI has barely bid out a few projects in that mode, in the past nine years.
Recently, flagging the issue of construction quality in highway projects executed with full government funding, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had asked NHAI and other wings of the highways ministry to bring more projects under the BOT-toll mode.