No bidders yet for Rs 6,500-crore Delhi-Meerut expressway project

Written by Timsy Jaipuria | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 23 2014, 08:26am hrs
Although five private players had filed a request for qualification (RFQ) for the 73-km, Rs 6,500-crore Delhi-Meerut expressway, none have come forward with requests for proposal (RFP).

FE had earlier reported that lack of investor interest has forced the National Highway authority of India (NHAI) to opt for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode for the R6,290-crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) project. The authorities are, however, yet to take a call on whether the EPC mode should be adopted for Delhi-Meerut expressway also.

Private consortia, including those of Srei Infrastructure, Sadbhav Infrastructure and Indus Concessions and also Uniquest Infra and IL&FS, had expressed their interest only during the first RFQ stage for the expressway. Of these, Sadbhav, Uniquest Infra, and Indus consortium qualified for the sector stage but have not put in RFPs, a senior NHAI official said. The government was expecting a premium in the project.

The proposed expressway, when completed, will allow commuters to reach Meerut from the capital in 45 to 60 minutes and cut travel time to both Haridwar and Dehradun by almost an hour. This was the first bid launched where NHAI had extended the timeline to 90 days as against a traditional bidding time of 45 days.

Delhi-Meerut expressway is one of seven such projects, all on the public-private-partnership (PPP) model, entailing investment of over

R16,000 crore which are on the priority list of prime minister Narendra Modi.

Senior officials of NHAI and the road transport ministry will meet with qualified RFQ bidders before they firm up any future plan for rebidding, sources said.

The real challenge is to get bidders for the project. Already a decision has been taken to award EPE on the EPC mode, but given the financial constraints, it will be tough for NHAI to award the project also on EPC, said a government official.

The proposed expressway will connect Nizamuddin Bridge and Dasna in Ghaziabad (NH-24) to Meerut bypass. The stretch from NH-24 up to UP Gate will be widened to 14 lanes from the present eight, the road between UP Gate and Dasna will be eight-laned. The next phase of the expressway will be built on a new alignment from Dasna to Meerut, a six-lane stretch joining Meerut bypass.