Road rows take toll on PPP projects
The recent row between companies and the National Highways Authority of India assumes importance as the 400-odd road contracts awarded so far account for 53.4% of the total 758 PPP contracts inked by government departments. These road projects involve a total investment of R1.76 lakh crore of the total R3.83 lakh crore for all PPPs, finance ministry data shows.
Sources in the government say there are many more such road projects that have been halted due to disputes.
Apart from roads, finance ministry list shows 61 PPPs in ports worth R81,038 crore while energy sector has 56 such contracts (R67,245 crore), 152 in urban development (R29,475 crore), five in airports (R19,111 crore) and four in railways (R1,570 crore).
While the PPP wave have swept the infrastructure space in the past 5-6 years, making India one of the role models globally for such a mode of development, GMR’s termination of a 16-month concession agreement with NHAI for the 555-km long Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway project, and GVK’s threat to pull out of the 330-km Shivpuri-Dewas project have led to doubts over the viability of such contracts.
Although the road transport ministry and NHAI are weighing various options, including barring GMR group from bidding in upcoming projects for a few years, it does not resolve companies’ problems, which range from
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