The government is hopeful of garnering about Rs 1 lakh crore investment in the highways sector through electronic tendering of projects, Road Transport and Highways Minister, C P Joshi said. “The initiative of e-tendering or inviting tenders electronically has brought in more bidders and has resulted in rise in the business,” Joshi said while addressing the Economic Editors’ Conference.
“Till date, 525 tenders have been floated and we are set to generate business of around Rs 1 lakh crore from the same,” Joshi said here. The ministry has awarded 8,000 km of projects through the public-private-partnership (PPP) model in the last one year and it is estimated to generate approximately Rs 80,000 crore.
The ministry would also launch a large programme of public funded projects under the Engineering,Procurement and Construction (EPC) or turnkey model, he said. “We are planning to award about 4,000 km of roads for two laning on EPC mode in the current financial year,” Joshi said.
The new EPC contract document has been finalised on fixed cost and time basis to replace the traditional item rate contracts which have the issues of time and cost over runs.
Talking about new projects, Joshi said, “While undertaking new projects we aim to connect the remote parts of the country with the mainstream and be a partner in the development process.” He mentioned that while under this strategy, foundation stone of a 6.5 km tunnel was laid near Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir last week to provide all-weather connectivity with Ladakh, another Rs 5,500 crore project is envisaged at Zojila Pass in the state.
The government has also planned to construct two tunnels, on similar lines, between Qazigund-Banihal and Chennani-Nashari will reduce the travel distance between Srinagar and Jammu by 46 km. About difficulties in financing of the projects, Joshi said, “Looking at the recent global economic conditions there have been few challenges in project financing, land acquisition, arbitration claims, merger and transfer of projects etc.”
He added that the government is addressing these issues and is in dialogue with concessionaires, lenders and regulatory agencies.