Baalu trips on national highways
- Delhi: Multi-vehicle pileup on NH-1 leaves at least five dead
- Siachen avalanche: Air pocket under 35 ft of snow kept Lance Naik Hanumanthappa alive
- Facts dispute claims by banks: write-off gallops, recovery crawls
- Upset allies Akali Dal and Shiv Sena let BJP know: Keep us in loop
- David Headley deposition adjourned for the day following technical glitch
"Only six odd projects have been awarded so far this year. Initially, the request for qualification (RFQ) norms aimed at bringing only serious bidders discouraged firms and hemmed them in. But now, it is the recession effect. The last 2-3 months have been particularly bad. Bidders are now re-assessing the viability of projects because of limited availability of funds and high interest rates. What it means is that only very lucrative projects will be taken up by bidders and those with a small profit margin will just be dropped," said an official. This means bad news particularly for NHDP III- the project to connect places of social and economic significance with four lane NHs. "While NHDP V will be still taken up by bidders because it involves six laning of sections already being tolled, it will be difficult for NHDP III. The time line for bidding for nearly 30 projects has been extended considerably to draw more bidders," the official added.
The latest internal progress report of NHAI throws up troubling figures. A massive 10,000-plus kms are to be awarded under NHDP III, 5,470 kms under NHDP V and 821 kms under North South & East West corridor. NHAI has set the highest-ever highway completion target for 2008-09 and has unveiled the largest ever expenditure plan in the pre-election year. NHAI plans to upgrade 3,597 km of NHs and spend over Rs 28,000 crore this fiscal. The completion target at 3,597 kms for 2008-09 is far above the target set for previous years. In 2007-08, NHAI had targeted to upgrade 2,885 kms of which it only managed 1,614 kms, a target of just 817 kms in 2006-07 and 1,035 kms in 2005-06.