Apr 1 2015 | Focus

Road to progress

India boasts of the world´s second largest road network covering 48 lakh km. Out of this around 1.9 per cent or 92,851 km comprises of National Highways which carries 40 per cent of the traffic. The major road programs currently underway includes: 1) National Highways Development Program(NHDP) covering 54,478 km, Special program for North East (SARDP-NE) covering 10,141 km and Left Wing & Extremist affected areas (LWE) covering 5,477 km. The implementing authorities include NHAI, NHIDCL, BRO, State PWDs etc. Sandeep Sharma takes a look at the road construction sector in India´

Revival attempt
In the last couple of years due to economic slowdown and fall in overall traffic, the build operate transfer (BOT) road projects have gone out of favour and EPC is preferred. As per road sector review in the Economic Survey 2014-15, the reduced revenue realization in case of BOT projects owing to low traffic has adversely affected debt servicing by concessionaires. Concessionaires started defaulting and were unable to service debt. Many of them had sought debt restructuring from lenders. With debt obligations mounting on account of debt repayment deferments, sector exposure increased, reaching the ceiling exposure norms for the road sector. The sector is still reeling under tremendous stress. The road ministry is trying to restore confidence of all the stakeholders and making attempt to revive the sector. To achieve a target of developing 30 km of roads per day, the ministry is trying to identify bottlenecks in the sectoral path and has initiated rounds of consultation with all the stakeholders to ensure that the road construction development is fast tracked.

MoRTH have been empowered with more financial powers with increased threshold from Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,000 crore per project whether it is public funded projects or PPP. Policy initiatives covers encouraging investment in PPP projects, mode of delivery of projects, increased threshold for project approval, enhanced inter-ministerial coordination, fast track dispute resolution, amendments to the Model Concession Agreement, current focus on EPC, Project packaging, Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) are some of the focus areas of the government.

Border road construction opportunity
The Government of India is keen to pace up development of infrastructure along the border mainly in terms of road infrastructure. The development has become mandatory and private companies support is sought by the Defence Ministry. While addressing a national workshop on Border Roads for private sector´s participation in construction of roads, bridges and tunnels in Border Areas, the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has urged the private construction companies to play a big role in developing the infrastructures along the border. Border Roads Organization (BRO) is entrusted with the responsibility of developing infrastructure in the border areas of the country. Due to phenomenal increase in quantum of works entrusted to BRO, the organization is not able to meet the demand requirement. To fill this gap, the private sector participation is critical for border road development.

Land acquisition for national highways
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has acquired 10735 ha, 8005 ha and 12336 ha in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 respectively. The state-wise details of total area of land (in Ha) acquired by the National Highways Authority of India for the development of National Highways in the country during the last three years:

Innovative standards
While speaking at the inaugural session of a workshop cum exhibition on ´adoption of innovative technologies and materials for road construction in India´ organized by Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in association with the World Bank at Noida near Delhi in February 2015, the Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari has suggested that the national standards for design, construction, maintenance and operation of roads, bridges and flyovers should align with the global standards to bring down the cost of construction while maintaining high standards of quality. Gadkari has said that an appropriate scientific approach towards quality construction, time bound solutions and road safety would certainly reduce the number of road accidents.

Project execution in fast lane
The Government of India is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to revive the road construction sector. The proactive approach and faster approvals have resulted in unprecedented pick up in execution of road projects. Till 31st January 2015, around 3038-km of road is constructed against the target of 6300 km for construction under various schemes of the Ministry during the current year. Out of 17 projects awarded by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) during 2013-14, the work has been started in case of 15 projects. Some of the projects have reported progress of upto 40 to 50 %. To fast track project completion, various steps have been taken by MoRTH which include streamlining of land acquisition, environment clearances, exit for equity investors, re-scheduling of premium, securitization of road sector loans, close coordination with other Ministries, revamping of dispute resolution mechanism, frequent reviews at various levels etc.

Road transport and safety bill
The Government of India aims to plan and develop integrated, safe and sustainable transport systems that would contribute to inclusive, prosperous and environmentally responsible India. As a step forward, the government has proposed new Road Transport and Safety Bill 2015, in place of Motor Vehicle Act 1988. The new bill proposes to constitute a National Road Transport and Multimodal Co-ordination Authority and State Transport Authority under Sections 109 to 145 of Chapter-VI. In Section 139 of the proposed bill, some of the primary objective of State Transport Authority includes the following:-

(1) To collaborate with National Transport Authority, other state transport bodies and public entities, urban local bodies and land holding agencies and the traffic police and ensure that the public transport system is planned and operated as part of an integrated transport system meeting there requirement of all transport system users within the state.

(2) To organize and regulate the public transport system in a manner which supports a multi-modal integrated transport system within the state.

PROJECT PARADE
Six-laning of Gurgaon-Kotputli-Jaipur section
The six-laning work of Gurgaon-Kotputli-Jaipur section of National Highway-8 was recently reviewed at the ministerial level. As per MoRTH pib release dated 25th March 2015, out of 57 structures to be completed which include flyovers, vehicle underpasses (VUP) and pedestrian underpasses (PUP), 46 have already been completed while 7 more will be completed by the end of June 2015. The work for remaining 4 structures is also under progress and will be completed soon. The completion of work on NH-8 is accorded high priority by MoRTH. Bye-passes are proposed to be constructed at Behror, Kotputli, Paota and Shahpura in Rajasthan.

Bridge across Ganga River
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has taken up the project for construction of Bridge across Ganga River near Sahebganj, which will give connectivity to NH-131A on Bihar side and NH-80 on Jharkhand side. The tentative estimated cost of bridge is Rs 800 Crore. The anticipated construction period for the bridge is 5 Years. As per MoRTH, around 180 numbers of underpasses are proposed to be built on National Highway No. 2 in the country.

Ghaziabad-Haridwar section on NH-58
The four laning work in Muzaffarnagar-Roorkee-Haridwar stretch of NH-58 is under implementation. Attempts are made to complete this work before Árdhkumbh to be held in Haridwar by 2016.

Six laning of the Chakeri-Allahabad section
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has recently accorded approval for the six laning of the Chakeri-Allahabad section of National Highway ´ 2 in Uttar Pradesh. This project will be taken up under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. The approval is in Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) (Toll) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis. The estimated cost of this project is Rs 1,999.85 Crore which includes the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 145 km.

Six laning of Baleshwar-Chandikhole section
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has recently accorded approval for the six laning of the Baleshwar-Chandikhole section of National Highway ´ 5 in Odisha. This work will be taken up under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. The approval is in Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) (Toll) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis. The project is estimated to cost Rs 2,296.82 Crore which includes the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 137 km.

Six laning of Handia-Varanasi section
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has recently accorded approval for the six laning of the Handia-Varanasi section of National Highway ´ 2 in Uttar Pradesh. This work will be taken up under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. The approval is in Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) (Toll) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis. The cost is estimated to be Rs 2,378.59 crore. The cost includes land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 72.4 km.

Four/Six laning of Raipur-Bilaspur section
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has recently accorded approval for the development of the four/six laning of the Raipur-Bilaspur section of National Highway ´ 30/NH-130 (old NH-200) in Chhattisgarh. This work will be under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-IV. The approval is in Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) (Toll) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis. The project cost is estimated to be Rs 1,963.88 Crore covering the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 127 km.

Port connectivity projects
The road ministry has identified nine major ports for port connectivity under National Highway Development Project (NHDP). Seven out of nine projects have been completed; one project has been handed over to the State Government of Goa and for the remaining project in Tamil Nadu, and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has taken up with the concerned State Authorities to expedite shifting of project affected families to ensure time bound completion of the project. Besides, the project is monitored at various levels for timely completion.

Four laning of Ramban-Banihal section
In January 2015, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs accorded approval for development of the four laning of the Ramban-Banihal section of National Highway ´ 1A (now NH-44) in Jammu & Kashmir. This work will be taken up under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-II. The approval is in Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode. The cost is estimated to be Rs 1,623.98 Crore including the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 32.10 km.

Four laning of the Udhampur-Ramban section
In January 2015, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs accorded approval for development of the four laning of the Udhampur-Ramban section of National Highway ´ 1A (now NH-44) in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). This work will be taken up under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-II and in Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode. The project is estimated to cost Rs 1,758.68 Crore covering land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 40.07 km.

ROBS/RUBS to replace all level crossings
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has proposed to replace all level crossings on National Highways in the country by ROBs/RUBs (Railway Over bridges/Railway Under bridges) in next five years, subject to inter-se priority and availability of funds.

ICRA report for FY14
As per ICRA report titled ´Indian Road Sector´ released in August 2014, the private sector participation was not encouraging in BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) road projects for the second consecutive year during FY14. The decline in projects awarded during FY13 & FY14 (aggregating to 2,223 Km) was steep when compared to FY 12 (6,419 Km). Similarly, execution was also hampered by bottlenecks related to land acquisition, clearances, and challenges related to project funding. As a result, work on multiple projects awarded in last 2-3 years is yet to start. Government has taken several encouraging initiatives to revive this sector, including proposal for setting up regulator for roads, easing of exit norms, delinking forest clearance from environment clearance and rescheduling of premium.

Investment potential
The investment requirement for the twelfth five year plan (12th FYP) 2012-17 is Rs 55,750 billion for infrastructure sector. Out of this roads and bridges account for 16% of total proposed investments in infrastructure at Rs 9,200 billion.

Private sector is expected to put in 32 per cent of the required investment while the rest 68 per cent will be provided by the public sector. Of the total planned investments in road sector, investments towards National Highways account for 36%. The road and highways sector future appears to be promising considering the immense potential of road development in the country. The roads and highways infrastructure is being overhauled across the length and breadth of the country.

With the launch of ´Smart Cities´ and ´Make in India´ programme by the Government of India, the opportunity for road development is set to touch the sky in the future.


Advertise Here [728 W x 90 H pixels]