Govt nod likely for toll road projects sale to pension funds
The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has lined up as many as 104 toll road projects to be sold to pension and sovereign funds for operations and maintenance for a fixed long-term period against an upfront value.
The Transport Ministry is hopeful of receiving the Cabinet approval soon on the proposal to sell over 100 operational toll road projects to sovereign and pension funds that will garner at least USD 7.7 billion.
The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has lined up as many as 104 toll road projects to be sold to pension and sovereign funds for operations and maintenance for a fixed long-term period against an upfront value. "We are hopeful of the Cabinet approval soon on the proposal to sell these 104 operational toll road projects to pension and sovereign funds," a top Road Transport and Highways official told PTI.
These projects with a total length of about 6,000-km have a total potential of USD 7.70 billion (Rs 50,000 crore). According to the official, these projects include Kishangarh-Bhilwara, Visakhapatnam-Champawati, Jalandhar-Pathankot, Ghaziabad-Hapur, Bhadrak-Balasore, Gorkakhpur-Kasia, among others. The official said the scope of concessionaire includes toll collection, regular and periodic maintenance of project highway.
For investors, many of these projects are more attractive such as Chittorgarh Bypass due to ongoing development of India's second nuclear fuel complex at Rawatbhata town in Chhittorgarh, he said. He further said Bhadrak-Balasore will prove another attractive stretch with about Rs 7,000 crore capacity expansion planned at Dhamra Port by Adani Group. AP Karnatka border-Devanhalli stretch would hold immense scope for investors in view of a Tech Park under development there which will be completed by 2020.
Twenty of the 104 projects will fetch an annual total collection of Rs 50 crore or more each while 33 are such which will fetch an annual revenue in the range of Rs 25-50 crore each. Forty per cent of the total 104 toll projects are generating more than 10 per cent of the project completion cost annually through toll. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said the government plans to sell highways projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore to foreign pension funds and insurance funds to attract overseas investments into the sector.
"We are trying to attract foreign investors. We have projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore. They are interested in buying out projects," he had said.
The government also plans to double the length of the National Highways to 2 lakh km from the existing 1 lakh km. India has the second largest road network of 5.23 million km in the world and consists of 200 km of expressways, about 1 lakh km of national highways, 1.31 lakh km of state highways and other roads. About 65 per cent of freight and 80 per cent of passenger traffic is carried by the roads.
National Highways constitute only about 2 per cent of the road network but carry about 40 per cent of the total road traffic.