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Finance Ministry's rule change may hit 1,000 km road projects

As a norm, any PPP project costing over Rs 2,000 crore is sent to the PPP Appraisal Committee and then to the Cabinet for its nod. However, PPP projects up to Rs 2,000 crore are appraised and approved by the highways ministry’s Standing Finance Committee. To keep large projects under the finance ministry-set threshold, the highways ministry has been bifurcating large projects.

Norm change may hit 1,000 km road projects

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  • Ashoka Buildcon had submitted its bid to National Highways Authority of India for the project to be built on hybrid annuity mode under Bharatmala Pariyojana, it said in a BSE filing. The project entails four laning of a section of NH-206 in the state.

    The government has finally moved to control the rising debt of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) while allowing tax sops to foreign investors in the budget

    "I propose to monetise at least twelve lots of highway bundles of over 6,000 km before 2024," Sitharaman said in her speech while tabling the Union Budget 2020-21. On electronic toll collection through FASTags, she said the "mechanism encourages us towards greater commercialisation of our highways so that NHAI can raise more resources."

    The project entails four-laning of Pathrapali-Kathghora "Pkg-II of Bilaspur-Kathghora section of NH-111 new NH-130 in the state of Chhattisgarh under Bharatmala on Hybrid Annuity Mode" by the National Highways Authority of India, the company said. The project, having a length of 39.30 km, is to be completed in two years, it said.

    RIL is in talks with state governments and local bodies across the country for offering the technology.

    The Khed-Sinnar Expressway (KSEL) is the third incomplete road project of IL&FS whose claim has been cleared by the highways authority.

    The applicable security deposit and minimum balance amount for FASTag wallet shall, however, remain unchanged. NHAI had earlier announced for free NHAI FASTag from November 22 to December 15 last year. The government has rolled out the FASTag-based toll collection system across more than 527 national highways in the country.

    NHAI plans to seek amendments in the National Highways Act to acquire more land to create land banks.

    Investors and developers said they met officials in the FM to remove this double taxation.

    The government will roll out the option of cash recharge for FASTags to accelerate its adoption.

    The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has proposed insurance cover for road projects, in a step that could help bring in credible project developers and mitigate construction period risks.

    Minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said that while there were problems with respect to delays in projects and rising cost of construction, among others, the ministry was working to address them. The minister added that the cost of the first phase of Bharatmala, the govt’s flagship highway construction programme, has increased to Rs 9.5 lakh crore.

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