In order to streamline the tolling process on national highways, the government has decided to convene a high-level meeting by the month-end to finalise a tolling policy and recommend amendments to the existing Model Concession Agreement (MCA), which is used to define the contractual terms between the government and private builders.
Speaking at the annual economic editors conference, TR Baalu, Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, said a committee of secretaries would work out the modalities of the tolling policy for the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP).
The NHDP covers the Golden Quadrilateral that links the metros of Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi, the North-South corridor linking Srinagar with Kanyakumari and the East-West corridor linking Silchar in Assam with Porbander.
The minister vehemently denied that there was a delay in construction of roads under various phases of the NHDP. Launching an attack on the previous BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for failing to complete the first phase of the NHDP on time, Baalu blamed the current lag on the carry-over effect.
The third phase of NHDP envisaging the four-laning of 4,000 km of National Highways at an estimated cost of Rs 22,000 crore was progressing well and detailed project reports for the construction of various stretches were under progress, Baalu said.
The remaining 415 km of highways under the Golden Quadrilateral would be substantially completed by December and the 141 km of North-South and East-West corridors envisaging four-laning of 7,300 km would be completed by December 2008, he said.
A total of 89 per cent entailing 6,669 km of NHDP-I out of a total of 7,498 km has been completed so far, the Minister said.