Highway projects’ clearance in top gear
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The government seems to have moved into overdrive in obtaining clearances for national highway projects. The Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) today approved nine highway projects totalling an investment of around Rs 4500 crore, and tomorrow, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is expected to clear NHDP VI, that envisages the construction of 1,000 km of access controlled expressways.
The PPPAC approval for the nine projects envisages the construction of around 700 km of national highways that fall under NHDP III and would be executed on a build-own-transfer basis. With PPPAC approval in hand, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) can now call for bids for these projects.
NHDP VI is a showpiece programme of the UPA government. As of now, only one highway project from Mumbai to Vadodra (expansion project) covering a distance of 400 km has been accorded the status of an expressway project. The balance schemes being considered for expressways include that between Delhi and Chandigarh; Delhi-Jaipur, Bangalore-Chennai, Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Meerut and Kolkata-Dhanbad. Once the CCEA approval is in place, the first expressway to kick-off would be the Mumbai-Vadodra link. The tentative cost for the expressway has been worked out to be Rs 16 crore per kilometer.
CCEA is also expected to consider and give its approval for allowing NTPC to make equity investments amounting to Rs 1,000 crore in a joint venture company to bid for the ultra mega power projects.