The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), to ensure smooth implementation of the ambitious Bharatmala project, is working on a policy to compensate brownfield projects that have either reached traffic maturity or are likely to be impacted by the over Rs5-trillion roads project.
Under the proposed “policy for capacity augmentation under PPP (public-private partnership)”, project concessionaires will be given options of selling the assets back to NHAI, undertaking revamp of the brownfield projects or terminating the toll contract.
Under the Bharatmala project, the government plans to build 83,677km of national highways, which includes widening present national highways and building economic corridors and expressways at a total cost of Rs5.35 trillion. During the last fiscal, NHAI awarded 150 road projects comprising 7,400km and worth Rs 1.2 trillion, an all-time high since its inception in 1995.
NHAI has also put out tenders for 232 projects since November 2017 under Bharatmala. The bids invited are for 11,200km of roads, costing around Rs1,96,000 crore. The increasing pace of work by NHAI is due to new procedures being sanctioned and put in place since November 2017, following the cabinet’s nod to Bharatmala. Under the new protocol, the NHAI board has been given powers to sanction EPC projects. A high-powered Projects Appraisal Committee and a Cost Committee have been put in place in NHAI.