High cost, single bid delays expressway project
Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), a part of the much-talked about third Ring Road for Delhi, has hit a major stumbling block, reports Atul Mathur.delhi Updated: Jul 22, 2009 00:16 IST
Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), a part of the much-talked about third Ring Road for Delhi, has hit a major stumbling block.
After sitting over the project for months, the Union government has finally cancelled the single bid it had received for this 135-kilometre long road. Reliance Infrastructure (of Anil Ambani) had emerged as the sole bidder for the project in December 2008.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) spokesperson VK Sharma said they would also “restructure” the project before inviting fresh tenders.
This would mean, said a senior NHAI official, a delay of at least one more year.
Senior officers in the ministry of road transport highways said the project is being restructured to reduce the total project cost. They said the very high project cost — Rs 2,676 crore — is the reason why not many infrastructure companies were willing to bid for it.
NHAI may even either change the alignment of the project or reduce the six-lane expressway to a four-lane project.
The union government has also announced a new toll policy for such public private partnership projects (PPP) and all future PPPs will be covered by the new toll policy.
“With the cost of the project being reduced and toll charges increasing under the new toll policy, the project would be economically more viable and may attract more infrastructure companies,” a senior ministry official said.
EPE is to connect Kundli with Palwal (both in Haryana) passing through Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar in UP.
The delay means, the project, which should have been completed by the Commonwealth Games in 2010, would not even take off before the Games.
Signing of agreement and actual construction takes about 36 months.
On the other hand, work on the Western Peripheral Expressway, which completes the third Ring around Delhi, is on in full swing.