Under the first phase of Rs 5.35-trillion Bharatmala Priyojona, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will tender out another bunch of highway projects with a combined length of 14,389 km by 2023-24, NHAI chairperson Alka Upadhyay said on Thursday .
Speaking at the National Road Infra Conclave 2022 organised by FE, Upadhaya said, “We have come a long way. We hope to tender out all works (under the first phase) by 2023-24.”
As on March 31, under the programme through which economic corridors, expressways, border and international connectivity roads and coastal and port connectivity roads are being developed, a total of 20,411-km project length been awarded of which 8,134 km has already been constructed.
“The development of freight corridors, national highways and expressways are going to reduce the cost of logistics which is currently very high in the country, around 12-13% of the GDP. With these highways coming up, I am sure there will be a huge reduction in logistics cost,” she said.
Upadhya said Indian businesses will be more competitive going forward as the government lays special emphasis on providing the last-mile connectivity through development of national highways, state highways and rural roads. “These will ultimately fulfill the dream of PM Gatishakti, the national master plan of multi-modal connectivity in the country. All of these not only make connectivity good, but also make Indian business far more competitive.”
Detailing the asset monetisation programme of the authority, she said the NHAI has an asset base of almost 1.4 lakh km of national highways. Through a proper study on which assets can be monetised, which can go to the market and give better returns, the authority has included “many of these” in the National Monetisation Plan.
“We did our InvIT last year for the first time and were able to raise around Rs 8,000 crore through five projects for about 400 km. We have another system, TOT, where we have raised about Rs 17,000 crore over the last few years.
With a mix of toll operate transfer (TOT) projects and InvIT, we will look at more asset monetisation in the next few months and the next few years,” the NHAI chairperson said.
Another very successful experiment has been done by the NHAI is the creation of the special purpose vehicle for the Delhi-Mumbai expressway development programme. The SPV has also received an AAA rating.
Regarding the Parvatmala programme, which was announced in the Budget for the current fiscal, far-flung areas of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K and in the North-East would be connected through the development of ropeways to provide last-minute connectivity. Work for awarding ropeways in Kedarnath and Hemkund has already started, she said.