GMR Group drives off Ahmedabad highway

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SummaryThe GMR Group has walked out of the 555-km long Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad National Highway, 16 months after it won this in a bid in which it promised to pay the National Highways Authority of India over R9,000 crore on a net present value basis.

NHAI officials had estimated that they would have to pay out VGFs of Rs 3,400 crore on an NPV basis, they actually got bids that would pay NHAI Rs 19,000 crore on an NPV basis – around half of this was from the GMR Group’s Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway.

Since most of NHAI’s projects involve NHAI paying out VGFs, its ability to award more projects depends on the funds (“negative grants”, in NHAI jargon) it gets from concessionaires like GMR. It was due to this funds constraint that, a couple of years ago, Planning Commission official Gajendra Haldea had written a paper on NHAI called “Sub-prime highways”.

Potholes

* NHAI says it has been trying to get clearances

* Securing green nods was NHAI’s job, as per contract

* Authority yet to notify toll rates for the highway

* GMR reportedly brought R800-850 cr for project

* NHAI has time up to Jan 4 to reply to the notice

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