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Plans and performance

Print edition : Jan 27, 2006

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BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The NHDP Phases I and II envisage strengthening and widening of roads along the Golden Quadrilateral, the North-South and East-West corridors and 1,157 km of port connectivity and other projects. The Golden Quadrilateral project envisages four-laning of 5,846 km of roads connecting the four metros of the country along the Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Chennai-Kolkata and Kolkata-Delhi sections.

The North-South corridor has a total length of 7,300 km and would connect Srinagar with Kanyakumari (including the Kochi-Salem Spur). The East-West corridor connects Silchar in Assam with Porbandar in Gujarat. While the North-South corridor would be 4,000 km long, the East-West corridor would be 3,300 km long.

The NHDP Phase III envisages four-laning of another 10,000 km of road length that was identified on the basis of high traffic density, providing connectivity for the State capitals with the National Highways and providing connectivity to important centres of tourism and economic activity. The project would be implemented on a public-private partnership basis. The NHDP Phase IV includes widening of 20,000 km of the National Highways to two lanes with paved shoulders. The government has also decided to convert 6,500 of National Highways into six lanes.

The NHDP VII envisages construction of about 1,000 km of expressways that would connect important commercial and industrial townships. This includes 400 km of the Ahmedabad-Vadodara section. Construction of ring roads, bypasses, underpasses, etc is expected under NHDP Phase VII.

The Golden Quadrilateral project that envisages four-laning of 5,846 km of roads connecting the four metros of the country has been completed to the extent of 87 per cent. About 5,079 km of roads have already been four-laned.

The Delhi-Mumbai corridor, with a total length of 1,419 km, has been fully completed. On the Mumbai-Chennai section, 1,145 km has been four-laned out of the total length of 1,290 km. Similarly, on the Chennai-Kolkata section, 1,462 km have been four-laned out of a total length of 1,684 km. And on the Kolkata-Delhi section, 1,071 km of roads have been four-laned out of a total of 1,453 km.

The Committee on Infrastructure, which was set up in August 2004, has outlined the future highways development programme. It has also given a major thrust to public-private partnership by deciding the mode of implementation as build, operate and transfer (BOT) for the work that remains to be done in the plan to strengthen the National Highways. The only exception could be those projects that might have a strategic importance. Moreover, it has set up a Committee of Secretaries to resolve the issues that would arise during the implementation of the NHDP.

The BOT models can be of two types - Toll and Annuity. In a Toll Model, the concessionaire (private sector) is required to meet the upfront/construction cost and the expenditure on annual maintenance. The concessionaire recovers the entire upfront/construction cost along with the interest and a return on investment out of the future toll collection. The viability of the project depends on the traffic volume and the toll charges levied. However, with a view to bridging the gap between the investment required and the gains arising out of it or increasing the viability of the projects, capital grant is also provided (up to a maximum of 40 per cent of the project cost has been provided under the NHDP), according to a government statement.

In the Annuity Model, the concessionaire (private sector) is required to meet the entire upfront/construction cost (no grant is paid by the client) and the expenditure on annual maintenance. The concessionaire recovers the entire investment and a pre-determined cost of return out of the annuities payable by the client every year. The selection is made on the basis of the least annuity quoted by the bidders (the concession period being fixed). The client (government/NHAI) retains the risk with respect to traffic (toll), since the client collects the toll.

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