India to roll out 481km of highway PPPs

India has greenlighted four projects collectively worth $1.16bn as it forges ahead with its national toll road upgrade programme.

Four public-private partnership (PPP) projects involving the six-laning and upgrade of Indian highways have been given the go ahead by the country’s Prime Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs last Friday.

The project approvals come eight days before Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, unveils India’s much-awaited 2015-2016 budget and six months after his first attempt at mapping out the country’s priorities, which had resulted in generous allocations to transport infrastructure.

The move allows the government to progress towards the nation’s 6,500-kilometre (km) target for the fifth phase of its seven-phase National Highway Development Project, an initiative started in 1998 under the leadership of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and still under implementation.

The latest toll road projects to be developed consist in adding a third lane to four key trade and tourism arteries in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarth.

“The main objective of the project[s] is to expedite the improvement of infrastructure in the state of Uttar Pradesh and also in reducing the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying between Çhakeri-Allahabad [and Handia-Varanassi],” public agencies said in a statement.

“These stretches will also help uplift the socio-economic condition of entire state of Uttar Pradesh [and] increase the employment potential to the local labourers for the project[s] activities.” 

In the Northern state of Uttar Pradesh, the 72.4km-long Handia-Varanasi and 145km-long Chakeri-Allahabad sections of the National Highway (NH) 2 will both be designed, built, financed, operated and transferred under the build operate transfer (BOT) mode under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V programme.

The Handia-Varanasi project has a 28-year concession, including a 30-year construction period. Project costs are estimated at Rs9.45 billion (€ 134 million; $152 million), inclusive of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation, and other pre-construction activity-related costs.

The cost of the Chakeri-Allahabad section project is estimated at Rs23.78 billion including the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities.

In Odisha, the six-laning of the Baleshwar-Chandikhole section of NH-5 will cover about 137km for the estimated cost of Rs23 billion.

In Chhattisgarh, the upgrade of the Raipur-Bilaspur section of NH-30/NH-130 (formerly NH-200) will cover approximately 127km for an estimated cost of Rs19.6 billion.