GMR sniffs opportunity in Rs 1 lakh-cr road projects

Written by Sajan C Kumar | Chennai | Updated: Aug 7 2009, 03:21am hrs
GMR Group, the infrastructure major with interests in airports, energy, highways and urban infrastructure, is betting big on the Union government's high-spend thrust on development of national highways projects. The group sees major opportunities in Centre's Rs 1 lakh crore road development project, which envisages development of 12,000 km of national highways in one year period.

Union road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath's announcement to develop 12,000 km of highways at a total outlay of Rs 1,00,000 crore under the NHAI, is laudable. Going forward, the group will bid for both NHAI and state projects to expand its portfolio of road assets, as and when the opportunities arise, OB Raju, managing director, GMR Highways, told FE.

As part of its aggressive growth plans, the group is in the process of bidding for more road projects. "We have recently bagged the Hyderabad--Vijayawada national highway project of 181 km. Further, we have also pre-qualified for eight national highway projects and are expecting a few more in the next quarter," he said.

Elaborating on the projects the group bagged recently, he said the construction work on the Rs 1,100-crore Chennai outer ring road project, which is the group's first state highway project after completing six national highways projects, was slated to commence in early 2010. The scheduled time for completion is 2012. The Tamil Nadu government is likely to issue the letter of approval (LoA) by the end of this month, he said. The GMR group-led consortium had bagged the Chennai outer ring road project in an international competitive bidding beating firms like Nagarjuna Constructions, BSCPL, Soma Enterprise and IVRCL-led constortium.

The geenfield road project, which measures 29.65 kms, entails design, construction, development, finance, operation and maintainance of the six lanes and two service lanes from Vandalur to Nemilicheri in Tamil Nadu. The project will ensure smooth flow of traffic and will be built to world class standards. Once completed, this will give a tremendous boost to real estate development and trade and commerce in the region.

The group has been granted a concession period of 20 years which includes a construction time of 30 months.