After bearing with umpteenth assurances for the past two years, the Haryana government on Wednesday finally showed some resolve by deciding to initiate penal action against the Concessionaire of the under-construction 135 kilometre long Kundli Manesar Palwal (KMP) Expressway for inordinately delaying the project.
The commercial operation date (CoD) of the Expressway was July 29, 2009 but the concessionaire- M/s KMP Expressways Ltd not only missed the 2009 deadline but also failed to honour several revised completion dates. The Concessionaire so far has achieved a progress of 63.74% on the ground.
The state government had accorded in principle approval to the revised CoD of December 31, 2010. However, the modalities of the revised CoD could not be decided since the Concessionaire continued missing deadlines. Reviewing the project, the High Powered Committee (Expressways) headed by Haryana chief secretary, Urvashi Gulati on Wednesday decided to make a recommendation regarding invoking the penal clause.
Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Yudhvir Singh Malik told HT that High Powered Committee will recommend to the state government that action be initiated for invocation of penal clause as per clause 15.4 of the concession agreement. “We will seek chief minister’s approval before issuing a notice in this regard to the Concessionaire,’’ Malik said.
As per clause 15.4 of the concession agreement, if the project completion is not achieved by July 29, 2009, the Concessionaire will pay weekly damages at the rate of 0.01% of the total project cost to Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), the executing agency for development of the project on built operate and transfer (BOT) basis. Clause 15.5 says that if the commercial operation date (CoD) does not occur within 12 months from the scheduled completion date, HSIIDC will be entitled to terminate the agreement after giving notice to the Concessionaire of cure period of one month for curing the relevant breach or default of the provisions of agreement.
“Although the concessionaire is being continuously impressed upon to expedite progress of work yet the monthwise physical progress achieved from this January to September is – 1.06%, 0.88%, 0.91% 0.83%, 0.46%, 0.24%, 0.46%, 0.20% and 0.24%. As per the last commitment given by the Concessionaire to the chief minister, the priority stretch (Manesar-Palwal section) was to be opened by this August 20 and the complete stretch of the Expressway was targeted to be opened by November 1. The Concessionaire has failed to achieve both the targets.
The work is standstill for the past 6-7 months,’’ said a top official. While the independent consultant, SNC-Lavalin Pvt Ltd had proposed that penal action under clause 15.4 will be relevant to priority stretch with effect from August 19, 2011 till its completion, the HSIIDC said that penal action would be relevant to the whole of the stretch of the Expressway since Concessionaire has not achieved monthly targets set by him for the past two years and has been revising the targets tiome and again despite availability of funds. It proposed that penal clause be invoked with effect from July 29, 2009 till the commercial operation date is achieved.