New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In a groundbreaking move, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has charted a new course for highway development, announcing 53 ambitious projects with a cumulative investment of Rs 2.1 trillion. The decision to employ the Built Operate Transfer (BoT) model for these projects signifies a strategic shift in resource generation, aiming to alleviate the burden on government finances while reinvigorating private participation in the highway construction sector.
After years of relying on the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) and Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC), NHAI's return to the BoT model is a significant policy shift. The 5214 km road stretches targeted for development through BoT span areas with high traffic density, presenting an opportunity for efficient infrastructure growth.
Out of the 53 projects, Maharashtra emerges as a focal point with 14 BoT projects covering 522 km, amounting to an investment of Rs 39,477 crore. This concentrated effort reflects the state's commitment to modernizing its transportation network and fostering economic development.
Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Uttarakhand are slated to witness the construction of six new highways, covering 490 km under the BoT model, with an investment of Rs 15,600 crore. Uttar Pradesh, with six highways spanning 1344 km, represents a significant stride in the state's infrastructure development at a cost of Rs 50,333 crore.
Aligned with the Centre’s 'Vision 2047' Plan, NHAI envisions the development of a multitude of high-speed corridors. The BoT model is expected to play a pivotal role in realizing this vision, fostering robust Public-Private Partnerships in the road sector.
To make the BoT model more attractive, NHAI has proposed modifications in the Model Concession Agreement (MCA) of BOT (Toll). These modifications aim to address concerns and eliminate roadblocks highlighted by stakeholders. Key provisions include the determination of termination payments, adjustments in the Concession Period based on actual traffic, and compensation for delays attributed to both the Authority and force majeure causes.
The resurgence of BoT signals a willingness among contractors to participate in highway construction under this model once again. Past disputes and delays are addressed, paving the way for a smoother and more efficient execution of these vital infrastructure projects.
NHAI's announcement of the massive Rs 2.1 trillion pipeline for highway development through the BoT model marks a pivotal moment in India's infrastructure landscape. As the nation looks forward to enhanced connectivity and economic growth, this strategic shift is poised to redefine the dynamics of highway development, making it more sustainable and inclusive.