The road transport and highways ministry on Friday cleared 18 highway projects having a cumulative length of 982 km to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 16,614 crore. These projects, spread across eight states including Rajasthan, Gujarat and UP, would be awarded in the current fiscal and developed using various models like engineering procure and construction (EPC) and hybrid annuity among others over a period of two to two and a half years from the awarding date to the successful bidders.
As many as 11 projects of the proposed 18, cleared by the ministry in a meeting headed by its secretary Sanjay Mitra, would be developed through the newly-coined hybrid annuity model, in which the government would pay 40% of the project cost in phases. Six projects would be developed through the EPC model and the remaining one using the traditional BOT (toll) model. The road ministry would not require to get the Cabinet approval to award these projects since the civil cost in any of them does not exceed R1,000 crore. Apparently, the ministry does not have any fund constraint to award these projects as well. The awarding of these projects would likely to get the ministry closer to its target of awarding 10,000-km highways for development this fiscal. Till January-end, cumulatively, the ministry and NHAI awarded 6,805 km of projects.
Road transport and highway minister Nitin Gadkari had earlier said that project awards in the current fiscal would be mostly on the EPC mode, in which the government bears the entire financial burden. Industry sources said though the ministry might not face any problem in awarding these six projects, it may face problems to award the lone project in the BOT model for four-laning of the 86-Km stretch between Dhule and Aurangabad section of the NH-211 in Maharashtra and another 62-Km in the same NH.