Let down by bidders’ reluctance to respond to the ambitious Rs. 2,234.46 crore Ganga expressway project, the state road construction department (RCD) is now contemplating various options to make it appealing to investors.
Development of tourist spots to increase traffic, creation of toll points at short distances and extension of collection period from the stipulated 25 years are some of the strategies the RCD is looking at after the pre-bid meeting with representatives of construction firms, whose bids passed through the request for qualification (RFQ) process.
In keeping with the significance of the project for the government, RCD secretary Pratyaya Amrit on Wednesday met the representatives of five construction companies and allayed their apprehensions about low return from the project to be implemented on the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode.
He also invited them to offer fresh financial bids for the project, the deadline of which has been extended till September 14. The department is learnt to have requested all nine construction companies, including Reliance Infrastructure, C&C, Isolux, Transstroy India Limited and Nagarjuna Construction Company, Simplex and Welspun, to offer fresh financial bids.
Technical bids of these companies had qualified for request for proposal (RFP), popularly known as financial bid. The secretary, however, denied any immediate change in procedure for implementation of the project, saying he was confident of drawing investors’ interests on the basis of stipulated terms and conditions only.
Sources in the department, however, said that the RCD might be compelled to add some more provisions in the project so as to make it financially viable for the construction companies to take up the work. Although nine companies had offered their bid for RFQ, none of them offered their bids for the request for proposal (RFP), which was opened on August 14.
Even the latest pre-bid meeting drew only five construction firms’ representatives to discuss the project. RCD minister Nand Kishore Yadav said, the meeting was held with a view to dispel investors’ confusions about the profit aspects. He said the conditions regarding setting up the toll collection points had already been relaxed to let the construction firm install it as per its choice.
However, the minister insisted, that the project to be implemented on public-privatepartnership (PPP) mode would be profitable for any company, as it would work as a link to three national highways - 19, 98 and 30. This will also ease the problem of perennial traffic congestion on the Digha-Patna City stretch.