The government has decided to award three expressway projects with a total length of over 500 km, entailing an estimated investment of R20,500 crore, this fiscal. This includes the R7,558-crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), which is being built under the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) model. In case of other projects, either the PPP and PPP annuity (hybrid) model, where the government will have 40% equity, will be employed.
At a recent high-level meeting in the road transport and highways ministry, a decision to build expressway stretches connecting Vadodara-Mumbai and Dasna-Meerut sections has been taken, sources told FE. For the Dasna-Meerut section, bids would be invited within a month, but it might require a few months more for the launch of the bidding for the first phase of the Vadodara-Mumbai section, as land acquisition for the proposed 274-km stretch is yet to be fully completed.
The government has already invited bids for the 135-km EPE and 27-km Delhi-Dasna stretches. Bids for these two projects would be opened within a fortnight.
While the road ministry has already announced plan to build the EPE project through the EPC route, where all expenses would be borne by the government, the Delhi-Dasna and Dasna-Meerut stretchs would likely be built under the annuity model, where the government would pay 40% of the equity. However, the government proposed to build the Vadodara-Mumbai stretch through the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, hoping that there would be larger investors’ interest as the stretch would see huge traffic.
The previous UPA government had in 2008-09 planned to build 18,000 km of expressways in the country. A decision to build 1,000 km of expressways in seven stretches was also taken by the Congress-led dispensation.
“Land acquisition is the biggest problem. This is precisely why we are trying to trudge cautiously. The entire 1,000 km is not possible soon because of the problem in acquisition of land. At the same time, we do not want time and cost overrun. The targeted 500-km stretch would be completed within 30 months after awarding the projects,” the official said.