While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Maharashtra came to power with a promise that it would make the state’s roads toll-free, a financial study of the Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communications Expressway has projected that motorists will have to pay toll for 40 years.
According to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the long period for collecting toll is required to make the Rs46,000-crore project financially viable. “The detailed project report is in the final stages. It is a huge project and to make it viable, we will have to charge toll for around 40 years. We are targeting an annual revenue of Rs1,000 crore from the expressway,” said Kiran Kurundkar, joint managing director, MSRDC. He said the final decision rests with the government.
A senior official explained that initially, a couple of years would go in making the expressway popular and to attract motorists. However, the exact toll charges for different vehicles will be decided after the final report is in. The expressway is being implemented on the EPC model and once the construction is completed, the corporation will float bids to appoint an agency to operate and maintain the expressway for a stipulated period, an official added.
The ambitious project that is monitored closely by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis entail huge investments. The civil construction for which the bids have been floated is estimated to cost Rs27,650 crore.
“The corporation plans to raise Rs26,750 crore from a multilateral agency and domestic market for the expressway. Of the Rs26,750 crore, we are in discussion with the Asian Development Bank for funds close to Rs13,750 crore. And for the remaining, have already roped in SBI caps to raise the remaining funds,” an official said.
Meanwhile, in a boost for the project, the corporation has received consent for 40% of required land from the project-affected people along the alignment. According to officials,farmers of 30% of the land have given their consent and 10% land, which is required from various government departments, has also been handed over. Considering the stiff deadline of 2019, acquiring 20,820 hectares of land has been the biggest challenge before the implementing agency.