The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has cleared premium rescheduling of road projects (means, postponement of premium payments by highway developers) and referred the matter to a panel for fine-tuning. The move could help infrastructure majors such as GMR and GVK whose projects were facing delays on account of high premium.
A proposal has been sent to the cabinet seeking its nod for rescheduling of premiums of about Rs 1 lakh crore in case of 23 awarded BOT (Toll) road projects which have not yet achieved appointed date. Premium is a payment made by the road developers to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in build, operate and transfer projects. The premium, which is offered by companies during the bidding stage, is based on projected returns from tolls.
The assigned committee is likely to fine-tune the proposal soon. Highway builders’ apex body National Highways Builders Federation (NHBF) has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s intervention in ensuring level-playing field for all road projects on premium saying any restructuring of the premium should be made applicable to all such schemes instead of a selected few.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will now consider each project on a case-to-case basis to determine a project’s eligibility for the rescheduling of restructuring.
It is said only certain principles of the original proposal of the road projects were approved. The original proposal considered 23 projects whose cumulative premium to be rescheduled amounted around Rs 98,000 crore.