The C Rangarajan Committee, which was set up in October this year, made some key recommendations to be submitted to the Highway Ministry that include rescheduling of premium that road developers are liable to pay to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and some breather from penalty norms.
In an environment where over 16,000 km of road projects are yet to be awarded under National Highway Development Programme, the second thought on premium rescheduling by the government means road developers have to wait longer.
The leeway did not go down well with Gajendra Haldea, infrastructure adviser to the Planning Commission, who raised some serious concerns mainly on ‘absence of penalty clause’. Haldea told the C Rangarajan Committee that the agency should not let road developers take concessions based on false traffic projections. He wants to overrule a cabinet decision which wanted to pursue the projects.
This suggestion of him have made highway ministry red-faced, as if these stuck road projects will not be able to obtain rescheduling, which will result in re-bidding, looking at the current economic scenario no developer will even opt for bidding projects.
Earlier, in an exclusive interview with Infrastructure Today, BK Chaturvedi, Member of the Planning Commission said that to discourage aggressive bidding, the concern authority should cancel the contract, and the message will go out clearly. According to him, ‘In case you renegotiate, it could be an invitation for aggressive bidding and then go back on it.’