Budget 2020 India: On electronic toll collection through FASTags, she said the "mechanism encourages us towards greater commercialisation of our highways so that NHAI can raise more resources."
Union Budget 2020 India: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will monetise at least 12 highway stretches before 2024 to raise more resources, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday.
These stretches comprise of over 6,000 km of highways.
“I propose to monetise at least twelve lots of highway bundles of over 6,000 km before 2024,” Sitharaman said in her speech while tabling the Union Budget 2020-21.
On electronic toll collection through FASTags, she said the “mechanism encourages us towards greater commercialisation of our highways so that NHAI can raise more resources.”
NHAI is authorised to monetise public funded national highway projects, which are operational and are collecting toll for at least 1 year after commercial operation, through the Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) model on a case to case basis.
NHAI has so far come out with three tranches for road monetisation, with the first bundle of nine projects totalling approximately 681 kms of highways in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat awarded in 2018 becoming a massive hit.
Foreign investors showed huge interest and the first TOT bundle was awarded to Macquarie for Rs 9,681 crore, which was 1.5 times higher than NHAI’s estimate.
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The second bundle of over 586 kms spread over four states — Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal and Bihar — with 12 toll plazas across four highways was also offered in 2018, but was later annulled.
Singapore-based Cube Highways had emerged as the winning bidder for government’s third round of road monetisation programme, quoting a price bid of Rs 5,011 crore in 2019.
With a view to expand the project base available with NHAI for monetisation under TOT mode and for raising finance against toll receipts from identified Public Funded/Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) projects through securitization, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had in November 2019 accorded approval to NHAI to vary the concession period between 15 to 30 years depending on project features.
It was allowed to raise long term finance from banks by securitizing the user fee receipts from fee plazas as an alternate mode of asset monetisation.