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Old June 23rd, 2013, 01:59 PM   #1961
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Hyderabad, June 22:

Companies doing sizeable business in the infrastructure space have welcomed the Government’s move to bring in flexibility in the roads sector, including revised norms that permit stake sale in projects right after commissioning.

The move is expected to accelerate the rate of churn of projects, increase the size of disinvestment, bring about liquidity, aid in debt swap and infuse fresh equity into new projects.

R. Balarami Reddy, Executive Director, Finance, IVRCL, told Business Line that the decision will help accelerate the process of exits and give more flexibility to the developer.
Easing Debt burden

Until now, a developer of road projects under the National Highways Authority programme could divest up to 74 per cent stake in the project two years after the date of commissioning. The developer had to retain the rest during the concessional phase.

Now, the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs has permitted infrastructure companies to sell their stakes soon after the date of commissioning. This could be in tranches or for the entire project value , Reddy explained.

Sridhar Cherukuri, Chairman and Managing Director of Transstroy (India) Ltd , said, “These changes bring in flexibility to developers to divest stake and redeploy funds into new projects. We are at an advanced stake of concluding deals.”

T. Adibabu, Chief Operating Officer, Finance, Lanco Infratech Ltd, said the infrastructure sector has been waiting anxiously for regulatory changes as it would help infuse liquidity for developers.

“By disinvestment of stake in mature projects, companies can pass on debt to the buyer. It releases the promoter’s equity, which can be redeployed into new projects. The developer can strike new loan contracts, freeing up high-cost debt,” Adibabu said.

Several pension funds and overseas investors are keen to invest in completed road projects. The Government move will pave way for such investment. Internal rate of return on investments too will go up, he said.
‘A Setback’

M. Gautham Reddy, Executive Director of Ramky Infrastructure, said, “While the norms help in infusing liquidity, other critical elements relating to premium has been deferred. This is a setback. But for the buyer, it helps in gaining management control by taking up to 51 per cent stake.”

IVRCL had to re-negotiate and tweak a stake sale deal with TRIL, a Tata Group entity, for divesting stake in three road projects for Rs 2,200 crore, in keeping with existing divestment norms.

Companies such as Madhucon Projects, IVRCL, Transstroy, Lanco and NCC Ltd are all in the process of divesting stakes in completed projects.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 05:01 PM   #1962
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The Government’s move to allow developers of highways under the public-private-partnership (PPP) route the leeway to exit from projects immediately after they are commissioned will help infuse some liquidity into a sector where companies are struggling to raise funds. The majority of highway developers in India are contractors whose core strengths are in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), and not in assuming the financial risks of operating and collecting toll from completed projects over a 20-30 year concession period. In contrast, are those investors with sufficient resources — from private equity firms to sovereign wealth funds — wanting to acquire road projects, but unwilling to take the risks of construction. By permitting developers to shed their entire equity, even in projects awarded on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis right after commissioning, the Government has essentially facilitated the sharing of risks — between those in a position to bear them until construction is complete and others only interested in managing the operational assets. In other words, a perfect fit.

The above ‘exit’ flexibility should, in fact, have been granted much earlier, ever since PPPs were made the preferred mode of executing highway projects. The shift to PPPs led to a situation where erstwhile EPC contractors, who undertook work on projects directly funded and bidded out by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), suddenly became full-fledged BOT developers. This was a job they were really not equipped for, made worse by onerous restrictions that forced them to stay invested right through the concession period of projects. In a scenario of high interest rates and tightening of lending norms by banks, the inability to divest stakes even in existing projects only compounded the liquidity problems of developers. The ultimate casualty here was the highway programme. With developers having no money to bid for new projects, the NHAI could award just 1,116 km of roads under PPP in 2012-13 as against 6,491 km the previous year.

Exiting from completed projects may help generate the much-needed liquidity for developers. But it will still not be enough to restore the kind of investor interest in highway development witnessed until a couple of years ago. The fact that a large number of PPP projects bidded out in 2011-12 are yet to achieve financial closure highlights the seriousness of the crisis in the sector. For the time being, the Government has little option but to go back to the older EPC model where the NHAI funded the projects and handed out construction contracts to private players. If nothing else, it will keep the highway building programme going and inject liquidity amongst contractors who may be enthused to bid for PPP/BOT projects as and when the overall economic situation improves. The NHAI must be made to speed up its process of awarding EPC contracts and the Government should untangle the regulatory thicket — particularly, in the environmental sphere — coming in the way of project implementation.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 05:22 PM   #1963
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New Delhi, June 24:

GMR Infrastructure’s Farukhnagar-Jadcherla highway project, Shapoorji-Pallonji’s Ulundurpet-Padalur stretch, and MVR Infra’s Omallur-Salem-Namakkal road project will see a change in ownership soon. Others could follow.

New investors have acquired a 74 per cent stake in these projects. Following the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs decision last Friday to relax exit norms for existing promoters, the new investors will now look to buy the entire stake.

Most of the acquisition contracts have a clause where the buyers have stated that a full buyout will happen as and when Government policy permits it, say officials from road development firms and the investment community.

For instance, IRB Infrastructure will now acquire the entire stake in MVR Infra’s Omallur-Salem-Namakkal project. IRB had acquired a 74 per cent stake in the project last year.

Speaking to Business Line, Virendra Mhaiskar, IRB Infrastructure’s Chairman and Managing Director, said: “The pricing for the remaining stake forms part of the contract that we entered while acquiring the 74 per cent stake last year.”

Similarly, there are two projects — one each by GMR Infrastructure and Shapoorji-Pallonji — where SBI Macquarie had acquired a 74 per cent stake earlier this year. It is now likely to buy the entire stake in these projects, say sources. There was, however, no official confirmation on this.

Trichy Tollway Pvt Ltd, which operates the Ulundurpet-Padalur stretch, was held jointly by Shapoorji-Pallonji and Malaysia-based IJM Corporation, in which SBI acquired a 74 per cent stake earlier this year.
Appointed date

The CCEA, while relaxing the norms, had said they will be applicable for existing projects where the “appointed date” has been achieved. The appointed date is the date from which the concession agreement starts.

For four- to six-lane projects, toll revenue starts flowing in from the appointed date, while in two- to four-lane projects, the toll collection starts after completion of construction.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will announce a policy defining the contours of the exit policy soon. Many developers said they want to wait for the announcement before predicting the impact.

The condition of new investors being subjected to due diligence by lenders appears to have made some investors uncomfortable. Others, however, say this is a fair condition as lenders put in 70-80 per cent of funds in these projects.

Besides, from a foreign investor’s perspective, the rupee’s depreciation has negatively impacted highway projects, which are high-value investments.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 02:20 PM   #1964
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Mumbai, June 27:

IL&FS Transportation Network Ltd has said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with East Nippon Expressway Company (NEXCO East), a Japanese expressway development company, to work together on PPP (public-private-partnership) projects.

The ITNL Group currently manages over 34,000 lane km of highways, of which about 12,000 km are in India.

NEXCO East manages and constructs expressways in eastern Japan. Currently, it manages 3,720 km of expressways, which are used by about 2.7 million customers each day. Toll revenues for 2012 were about $7 billion. The company also has about 280 km under construction.

Both the companies believe that the market for expressways in India is on the verge of a take-off and would become a large programme.

An IL&FS Transportation communiqué to the stock exchanges said the two companies aim to use Japanese technology and finance. The alliance intends to jointly carry out technical and feasibility studies and related work on potential road projects in India for implementation.
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Old June 29th, 2013, 05:31 AM   #1965
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I feel like humne galti kardi Yamuna Expressway jaisa world class expressway banake. I mean seriously this place is so dangerous. People do not even follow proper etiquette while driving on such awesome roads. Itna speeding karte hai. People dont even follow lanes on such an awesome road. No use building good roads here man.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/20823743.cms
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Old June 29th, 2013, 09:51 AM   #1966
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Agreed.
Most Indians don't deserve good roads.
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Old June 29th, 2013, 10:50 AM   #1967
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Originally Posted by rsrikanth05 View Post
Agreed.
Most Indians don't deserve good roads.
Most Indians don't deserve to drive.
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Old June 30th, 2013, 01:07 AM   #1968
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It's all about training. Drivers in other countries don't become good drivers automatically, they're forced to learn to drive properly before they can pass the licensing tests. Improve enforcement, and testing and that's how you'll start seeing lane discipline and better driving. Not about to happen of course
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Old June 30th, 2013, 06:32 AM   #1969
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cabinet-relaxes-green-nod-norms-for-highway-projects

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/20825734.cms

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet has cleared a proposal that allows expansion of highways up to 100 km without environmental clearance, a move seen speeding up revival of a sector that is key to higher economic growth.

Based on the recommendations on the Kasturirangan Committee, the Cabinet on Thursday also agreed to do away with a green nod for widening of highways by an additional 40 metres. Earlier, environmental approval was not required for road expansion up to 30 km and widening up to 20 metres.

The Cabinet decision, however, does not fully meet the demand of the road ministry, which was seeking exemption for highway projects of length up to 200 km and for widening of roads up to 60 metres. But senior officials from the road ministry said the revised limit would suffice, as most projects for widening of roads to four lanes fall within the 100-km category.

The Cabinet has also cleared the proposal to exempt from environment clearance mining of soil in an area up to 2 hectares for laying the foundation for roads.

Clearances from the ministry of environment and forests had been made mandatory for mining common soil and delays in obtaining the clearances had held up on-going projects estimated to be worth over Rs 50,000 crore. To kick-start work in these projects, the road ministry had been pushing for removing the restriction for land areas measuring up to 5 hectares.

In what would come as a relief to the road ministry, the National Highways Authority of India ( NHAI), highway developers and the government have now resolved most of the issues that had been identified to be stalling progress in the country's National Highway Development Programme.

Earlier this year, a special exemption or No Objection Certificate under Forest Rights Act, 2006, had been granted for strengthening and widening of national highways that required diversion of forestland.

In 2011, the MoEF had made it mandatory for projects to have forest clearances in place before they sought environmental nod. In March this year, the Supreme Court had allowed de-linking of the grant of environment clearances from forest clearances in the case of linear projects, such as expansion of roads and highways.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 03:34 PM   #1970
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June 30, 2013:

The Ministry of Road Transport is believed to be contemplating a 300-400 per cent rise in penalty for overloaded trucks. The move is being resisted by small goods vehicle owners who have to depend on agents or big transport companies for business.

They have no say in the selection of consignments. It is take-it-or-leave-it situation. Overloading would be often thrust upon them.

They point out that similar measures in the past yielded little except increasing their hardship. Till 1988, the fine for overloading was a paltry Rs 200.

Following an amendment to relevant provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, the amount was raised to whopping Rs 2000 in addition to Rs 1000 for a tonne of extra load.

This came as bonanza to enforcement staff at the state level who, on detection of overloading, chose to look the other way even as a big amount changed hands.

As the fine amount soars, so does the bribe amount. The apprehension is that it will be the repetition of the same this time also.

As a result, the vehicle operators will suffer, neither the agents nor the big transport companies. It is a pity that the Union government, despite being armed with a Supreme Court order, is so helpless when it comes to enforcement of its own rules at the state level.

The National Highways might be accounting for a meagre two per cent of the total road space in the country but are responsible for an estimated 80 per cent of the country’s total freight movement by road.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 09:18 PM   #1971
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NDA regime constructed 50% of national highways laid in last 30 years: Centre

NEW DELHI: The UPA government on Monday admitted before the Supreme Court that the NDA regime, in five years, constructed nearly half the total length of national highways laid during the last 32 years.

In an interesting affidavit filed before the apex court, the Centre said the length of national highways in the country was 29,023 km in 1980, which expanded to 76,818 km by the end of 2012. This means 47,795 km of national highways was added by successive governments in 32 years.

However, the affidavit revealed that during 1997-2002 (ninth five-year plan), when the NDA was in power, 23,814 km of national highways was added to the existing NH network, or nearly 50% of the total length of national highways constructed in three decades. This remains the largest construction of national highways during any five-year period since independence.

In fact, during the nearly 10-year rule of the UPA government, the total length of national highways laid was much less - nearly 16,000 km, the affidavit said.

During 2012-2017, nearly 3,000 km of additional national highways was proposed to be built but the government decided to de-notify 530 km of national highways in Madhya Pradesh and 627 km in Gujarat.

The affidavit came on a PIL filed by Sanjay Kulshresta, who sought several directions from the apex court to make highways safe for motorists including making available expeditious medical help to accident victims.

India has a total road network of 46.90 lakh km with a road density of 1.43 km per square km. While national highways account for 79,116 km, state highways make up 1,55,716 km and the remaining 44.55 lakh km is classified as 'other roads'.

"National highways comprise only 1.7% of total road network but carry about 40% of road traffic," the Centre said.

The petitioner had prayed for modernization of road infrastructure and traffic reforms to counter congestion. He had said rapid rise in personal diesel and petrol vehicles had nullified the effect of the Supreme Court directed conversion of all public transport in the city into CNG fuel.

The petitioner had also sought a direction to the government to phase out very old vehicles, which were not road worthy and emitted noxious air. But the Centre said though it was empowered to fix age for phasing out of vehicles, it had not taken measures under the legislation.

"Even though the central government is empowered to fix age limit of vehicles under Section 59 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, no policy decision has been taken (in this regard) by the central government," it said.

It said every vehicle owner has to prove road worthiness at the time of renewal of registration certificate from authorized testing centres. "Only those vehicles can ply on Indian roads as long as they satisfy the prescribed norms and standards mentioned in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules," the affidavit said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/i...w/20869113.cms
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 11:53 PM   #1972
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NDA regime constructed 50% of national highways laid in last 30 years: Centre

NEW DELHI: The UPA government on Monday admitted before the Supreme Court that the NDA regime, in five years, constructed nearly half the total length of national highways laid during the last 32 years.

In an interesting affidavit filed before the apex court, the Centre said the length of national highways in the country was 29,023 km in 1980, which expanded to 76,818 km by the end of 2012. This means 47,795 km of national highways was added by successive governments in 32 years.

However, the affidavit revealed that during 1997-2002 (ninth five-year plan), when the NDA was in power, 23,814 km of national highways was added to the existing NH network, or nearly 50% of the total length of national highways constructed in three decades. This remains the largest construction of national highways during any five-year period since independence.

In fact, during the nearly 10-year rule of the UPA government, the total length of national highways laid was much less - nearly 16,000 km, the affidavit said.

During 2012-2017, nearly 3,000 km of additional national highways was proposed to be built but the government decided to de-notify 530 km of national highways in Madhya Pradesh and 627 km in Gujarat.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/i...w/20869113.cms
Interestingly we were discussing this in the PM thread in chaibar. It is election time and naturally newspapers try to give everything a competitive touch. But let's analyze this a bit more.

1) First the term "admitted". It kind of implies in the context (the way the news has been written) that this was a secret that was revealed to Supreme Court because of questioning. The data has been available in morth reports to the public for quite some time.

2) NDA Length: 23,814 kms NH were added under the 9th five year plan. This was the biggest addition in India's five year plan history. NDA rule started after one year of this plan start. NDA also ruled part of 10th five year plan and should get credit for some of the work in 10th five year plan as well. However a huge percentage of growth in length was probably because of conversion of state highways to national highways without necessarily additional upgrade in quality. So the impression that such huge length was "constructed" could be misleading.

3) NDA Four Laning: The NDA started the NHDP project and gave India - a golden quadrilateral - a good quality four lane highway system. As per statement of March 2005 (nearly one year after NDA rule) 5,418 kms under NHDP were completed which could be credited to NDA (although some of the work was wrapped up by UPA in its first year.

4) UPA length: As per NHAI, NH length is 79,243 kms. It was 65,569 kms in 2004. So net addition is 13,674 kms. TOI claims it is 16K kms and maybe they have the latest update.
My guess is that most of the "added" length came from state highways just like under NDA rule.

5) UPA four laning: Coming to 4 lanes+ roads, As of March 2012, four lane road length went up to 17,774 kms. So in 7 years, more than 12K kms of NH have been four laned. While data on single lane NH is not available for all years, the percentage came down from 28.5 to 22.8% between 2009 and 2012 showing upgradation to two or four lanes.

6) Some news reports have raised the issue of denotification in BJP ruled states. The reason is probably this (“Governments of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have sent proposals for denotification of National Highways (NHs) passing through the respective States,” the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Mr Tushar A Chaudhary, said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. “Primarily they intend to take up the development and maintenance of these roads by them from their own resources,” Mr Chaudhary said).

So the impression that NH work is unsatisfactory or somehow compares poorly with NDA is probably not correct. NDA can get credit for the NHDP vision and initial implementation while UPA does get credit for carrying the plans through.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 05:51 PM   #1973
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Chennai, July 3:

Tamil Nadu government today sanctioned over Rs 250 crore towards taking up various road-related works in different districts of the state.

This included Rs 157.37 crore towards repairing damaged roads to the extent of 78.80 km in the Ariyalur and Perambalur districts which are dotted with limestone mines and cement factories.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has given administrative approval for the grant of the said sum which will be used towards repairing the roads largely used by heavy vehicles plying to and fro the mines and factories, an official release here said.

Further, Jayalalithaa had approved a sum of Rs 81 crore towards taking up various works on the Chennai-Dindugul national highway connecting Tiruchirappally and her native constituency Srirangam, including construction of small bridges.

Government will take up various road-related works in the hill resort or Kodaikanal, Kumbakonam and Salem, it said.

Overall a sum of around Rs 258 crore had been allocated towards road infrastructure.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 07:10 PM   #1974
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Old July 10th, 2013, 03:42 PM   #1975
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Kolkata, July 9:

The West Bengal Highway Development Corporation Ltd (WBHDC) has invited financial bids from the short-listed infrastructure companies for four-laning of the Dankuni-Chandannagar section of State Highway-13.

According sources, infrastructure majors such as Gammon India, HCC, IVRCL and Nagarjuna Construction are in the fray to participate in the project.

The highway connects NH-2 at Dankuni to NH-34 at Barajaguli in Nadia district. In the first phase, WBHDC plans to widen some 20-km stretch from Dankuni to Chandannagar on Delhi Road. To be developed on a turnkey contract model, the Rs 500-crore project is planned to be commissioned in two phases – Dankuni to Chandannagar (Hooghly district) and Chandannagar to Barojaguli (Nadia district).

“We have called for financial bids from the interested infrastructure companies. They can submit the bids till July 12. A pre-bid meeting with them has also been scheduled on July 12,” Manoj K. Agarwal, MD, West Bengal Highway Development Corporation Ltd (WBHDC), told Business Line.

According to him, of the 13 infrastructure firms that participated in the preliminary bidding, 12 have been short-listed.

Agarwal added that WBHDC is expecting works to begin for the first phase after August 15, once the panchayat election process in the State gets over.
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Old July 15th, 2013, 06:25 PM   #1976
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July 15, 2013:

Oscar Fernandes has become the Highways Minister at a time when the Government is less than a year away from going to the polls and highway projects are more in news due to the disputes surrounding them.

But, in the first three weeks after having taken charge, Fernandes has hit the road in a manner that few of his predecessors have.

While there may be no data to support this, many in the Ministry admit he has surely clocked more kilometres on the road than his predecessors, going by the first three weeks.

“I am having a look at the things on the ground. My first task was to see the relief work at Uttarakhand. From there I went to Chandigarh…I have been taking informal review meetings. I have had reviews in Hyderabad zone, then Bengaluru. I have covered Chandigarh, and (other parts of) Haryana and Punjab,” said Fernandes, during a recent interaction with Business Line.

He plans to visit Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and the North-East over the next few days.

“I use trains, buses and cars to commute as I get to interact with people. Recently, I went to Bangalore. Between Bangalore and Mangalore, I used train on one route and bus on the other. Not that I don’t use flight.

But in buses and trains, I get to interact more with people,” he said.

Fernandes appears to know well what is going around. When a road developer told him that he was unable to complete the road construction because of raw material shortage in Punjab and Chandigarh, the Minister replied: “I agree that there is a problem but when I travelled in Punjab and Haryana, I saw construction works on other road projects that were going on. How are they managing…You can at least try and finish the work first to prevent (cost) over-runs.”

About the high accident rates in India, Fernandes said, “We shall soon be starting cashless scheme for accidents. This, I must say, was launched during my predecessor, C. P. Joshi’s time. But by preventing even one person from dying, we would be saving, besides his life, the insurance fund, the vehicle and third party insurance cover.”

As per the scheme, to be launched on a pilot basis, accident victims on National Highways will be treated in the nearest hospital without having to foot the bill for a pre-defined limit. On the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, which has been pending for long in Parliament, and faces the danger of lapsing if there is no movement, he said: “I will push it. But everything depends on the Government’s overall priority. The Parliament has to function. Having brought an Ordinance, (introducing the) Food Bill is priority.

Can the Opposition refuse to discuss relief steps for Uttarakhand tragedy,” asked Fernandes. The Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill has recommendations on various issues including some to improve safety.

Fernandes’ views on toll charges on National Highways may be music to the ears of developers investing in roads but may not be that pleasant to road users including truckers.

“On toll payments, we need to do some PR (public relations). After all, there is a 48 km Ghat road in my State. We can reduce the distance to 14.7 km by building a tunnel.

With this, the risk of accident comes down, fuel is saved, and vehicle maintenance is reduced. Now, if people save Rs 300, can’t they pay Rs 100 as toll?”

When asked how his experience in the first few days as Highways Minister is different compared to earlier stint in other Ministries, Fernandes said, “When I was Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation (in 2004-05, during UPA-1 regime), I was in a monitoring role. Now, I have to give inputs on the Highway Ministry’s performance. Then I was a teacher, now I am the student.”
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Old July 27th, 2013, 09:13 AM   #1977
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New bridge on Narmada to be ready by 2016: Minister

http://news.silobreaker.com/new-brid...87563220729942

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BHARUCH: Union minister of state for transport, road and highways, Oscar Fernandes visited Bharuch and assured that the much-wanted new bridge over Narmada will be constructed by 2016. Fernandes is said to have rushed to Bharuch after Ahmed Patel, politicial secretary to UPA chief Sonia Gandhi, expressed severe displeasure over the inordinate delay caused in the project. Bharuch and Ankleshwar residents as well as those travelling on the national highway 8 to Mumbai are facing frustrating traffic snarls due to want of a new bridge. It may be recalled that the foundation stone for the new bridge, which will complement the exisiting Golden Bridge and Sardar Bridge, was laid on May 1 last year. Nazu Fadwala, media coordinator for Bharuch district Congress told TOI: " Ahmedbhai had written a strong letter to the ministry of transport, road and highways in the second week of July expressing unhappiness over the delay (in the project). He has also mentioned how people are suffering a lot in absence of another bridge." Addressing media persons later, Fernandes said, "The old Sardar bridge which is damaged will be repaired by October and made operational only for light vehicles. The new proposed bridge near Sardar Bridge will be ready in next three years. The tender process is in a final stage. Earlier, the contract was awarded to Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) who failed to abide the tender conditions, which necessitated inviting of fresh bids." Fernandes said that the entire expenditure for the new bridge will now be borne by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) instead of earlier proposed built operate and transfer (BOT). The tender process for the proposed fly over near Mandva and Jhadeshwar crossing and service road are in a final stage. The minister along with NHAI team and district officials first visited the damaged Sardar Bridge which is closed for heavy vehicles since five years due to want of repair. The traffic congestion has become a routine affair on the national highway 8. In July alone, the stretch remained jammed for practically eight days. Rajendrasinh Rana, district Congress president said "We have appraised Ahmedbhai about the nagging traffic problems and he immediately intervened."
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Old July 30th, 2013, 05:42 AM   #1978
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ministry-plans-to-replace-242-level-crossings-with-overbridges

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/21313032.cms

NEW DELHI: The government today said it plans to build overbridges at all 242 level crossings on road stretches outside the scope of the National Highway Development Projects by 2017 for smooth traffic movement.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways proposes to replace the level crossings with overbridges in a time-bound, phased manner, the ministry said in a statement.

"Level crossings are a major bottleneck in the national highway network...These are the major reasons for congestion, leading to inefficiency in the highway network and fatal accidents," the ministry said.

Until now, construction of overbridges at level crossings was taken up as part of programmes such as the National Highway Development Projects and the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in the North East.

Overbridges on other stretches of the highway network did not get the desired attention due to a paucity of funds, according to the statement.

The overbridges are proposed to be built in 18 states, including Uttar Pradesh (31 level crossings), Andhra Pradesh (28), Assam (26), Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (20 each), Punjab (15), Jharkhand (14), Gujarat (12), Rajasthan (11) and Odisha, Bihar and Haryana (10 each).
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Old July 30th, 2013, 06:19 PM   #1979
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New Delhi, July 29:

Highway project developers said a more direct exit route than what has been recently approved by the Cabinet is required to bring in more liquidity in the sector.

After going through the fine print of the Cabinet decision, the highway developers have now written to the Prime Minister citing issues with the mechanism approved by the Government for bringing in new investments in the sector. They also said that it will increase transaction costs and reduce returns for all stakeholders.

Objecting to the manner in which the exit of an existing developer and stepping in of new investor has been permitted, highway developers have now said that they doubt whether the 10-year income tax benefits for infrastructure projects can be transferred to the new buyer.

They also said that the Government should not levy any penalty for those projects which have been completed and are under operation.

The Government had said a penalty of up to one per cent of the project cost could be levied for projects where promoters exit.

In June, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a proposal that effectively permitted new investors with deeper pockets to buyout the rights to develop and operate highway development projects from developers, who had originally bagged the rights.

But, the Cabinet has permitted such exit of developers through a circuitous route, called “substitution of concessionaire”, which is driven by the lenders and requires formation of a new special purpose vehicle (SPV) to manage the project.
PROBLEMS

Replacing the existing SPV with a new one will create complications and increase the risk profile of the project. This will require changing the road construction and other related contracts to the new SPV and thus attract new stamp duty and other costs. “There will be constraints in the transfer of tax benefits, losses and depreciation benefits to the new SPV,” said project developers.

The Government must facilitate buying and selling of shares within the same SPV, which was formed to own and operate the project, developers have said. This has been a long standing demand of highway developers, and was supported by National Highways Authority of India as well as Highways Ministry.

“The current circular has failed to address the issue of unlocking of equity in healthy, operational projects that will release about Rs 6,000 crore of equity in older concessions,” said National Highway Builders Federation, in a letter to the Prime Minister sent four days ago.

Usually, highway development and operation rights are given to a developer for long tenures, ranging from 15-30 years. The exit rules for the original developer vary depending on when the projects were awarded. For projects awarded before 2009, original developers are required to keep 26 per cent stake through the entire project life.

Incidentally, it is these projects that are likely to attract maximum investor interest as they have a history of toll collection.
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Old August 1st, 2013, 07:04 AM   #1980
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Tender Hosted on NHAI website dated: 31 -07-2013

1. IC Services during Operation & Maintenance Period for 4 lane dual carriageway from km. 488.270 to km. 413.200 of NH-24 (Lucknow – Sitapur Section) in the state of Uttar Pradesh on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basic.
Last Date of submission :30th August 2013 (On e-Tendering Mode)

2. Bids are invited from eligible bidders for procurement of fee collection agency through Competitive at toll plazas mentioned below for a period of 1 (one) year. ---
Aurangabad – Barachatti Section (km 180.000 to km 240.000).
Last Date of submission :14th August 2013 (On e-Tendering Mode)

3. Bids are re-invited from eligible bidders for procurement of fee collection agency through Competitive Bidding at toll plaza mentioned below for a period of 1 (one) year. -----
Rithola- Udaipur km. 113.830 to km. 213.00.
Last Date of submission :16th August 2013 (On e-Tendering Mode)

Please click on below link for more details:
http://nhai.org/whatnewJul11.asp
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