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  1. Infrastructure: In a first, NHAI looking to beat note ban crunch at highways with ‘toll coupon currency’

Infrastructure: In a first, NHAI looking to beat note ban crunch at highways with ‘toll coupon currency’

The coupons can be purchased at nearly 400 plazas against the scrapped R500 notes. They would have security features of bar codes, hologram with the NHAI logo, and serial numbers to avoid duplication and printing of fakes.

By: | Published: December 7, 2016 6:22 AM
The coupons will serve as currency and will be given to motorists after deducting toll fees on national highways till December 31. (NHAI) The coupons will serve as currency and will be given to motorists after deducting toll fees on national highways till December 31. (NHAI)

The coupon currency

Practical move ~ Toll Coupon Currency: PMO+RBI allow NHAI to issue R5/10/50 coupons as emergency measure to get tolling going smoothly.

With tolling on NHs set to resume from mid-night of Dec 2, new NHAI Chairman making arrangements on war-footing to avoid inconveniences.

Beating the currency crunch at toll plazas

The coupons will serve as currency and will be given to motorists after deducting toll fees on national highways till December 31. The coupons can be purchased at nearly 400 plazas against the scrapped R500 notes. They would have security features of bar codes, hologram with the NHAI logo, and serial numbers to avoid duplication and printing of fakes.

Moody’s upgrade of India’s power sector from negative to stable rests on 2 planks—better coal availability & health of Discoms post UDAY.

Power sector stable, says Moody’s

In its Power Sector report, the ratings agency has observed that the government’s debt restructuring of the financially weak distribution utilities is likely to have a positive impact. Moreover, renewable generation could act as a complementary source of power rather than a competitor to thermal plants.

Oct infra growth of 6.6% on back of high steel & refinery. However growth rate of power generation, cement & coal continues to decline.

Infrastructure growth continues to lag

According to data released by the commerce and industry ministry, steel production jumped 16.9% in October. It had shrunk 5.5% in the earlier year period. Growth in fertiliser and electricity generation was 0.8% and 2.8%, respectively, against 16.8% and 13.8%, in October 2015.

Dipstick conversations reveal this period of lost tolls has dented PPP sentiment in roads sector pretty severely amongst foreign investors.

Toll break causes concern

Long-term foreign institutional investors are always keen on operating projects with stable annuity income. Not surprisingly, suspension of tolls for over three weeks on account of demonetisation has caused some consternation. Hopefully, as tolling resumes, they will take this in their stride as a one-time event.

Miles to go: MoRTH releases April-Oct data on Road construction. Target for 2016-17 =15,000 km. Achieved till Oct end = 3591 km.

Slipping on road construction targets

Till October-end, the road ministry along with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) could award projects to build 4,443-km highways & constructed 3,591-km new ones. At best, two-thirds of the target can be built this year.

Still stuck in implementation logjams: NHAI identifies 10 key stalled road projects worth R8,600 cost incl Gur-Jaipur (delayed >5 yrs).

Clearing the road blocks

In a bid to revive the stalled highway projects, the government has allowed a one-time fund infusion for those under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode and rationalised compensation to concessionaires in case delays are not attributable to them.

Skyfall: Alleged dumping of excreta from planes around Delhi airport gets attention of NGT. Fines govt for not filing inspection report.

Skidding on dirt

The National Green Tribunal slapped a fine of R5,000 on the Union environment ministry and the civil aviation ministry for the delay in filing the inspection report in response to the retired army officer’s complaint.

North-east underserved on power. Per capita consumption 1/3 of national average. $470 million World Bank loan hopes to set this right.

North-east states’ power bid

Six north-eastern states, including Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank for a $470 million loan in order to revamp the power infrastructure. The Power Grid of India will help in building the capacity of the state departments and utilities to continue managing the refurbished networks.

—Vinayak Chatterjee is Chairman of Feedback Infra

His Twitter handle: @Infra_VinayakCh

A weekly selection of the author’s tweets—with a brief backgrounder—in the infra space, by Adite Banerjie

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