• NHAI to float bids for monetising 10 national highway projects by April

    Buoyed by response from institutional investors from the Middle-East, Canada and the US, NHAI plans to come out with bids for monetisation of 10 out of 75 public-funded national highway projects in the first phase.

    The move follows the government’s decision in August last year authorising the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to monetise public-funded highway projects in the country.

    “Bids are likely to be out by April inviting tenders for monetisation of at least 10 projects on toll operate transfer (TOT),” a senior NHAI official told PTI.

    The official said 10 such projects out of a basket of 75 have been identified for monetisation and several investors, including Canadian Pension Fund, Abu Dhabi Investment Fund and those from the US, Europe and Singapore, have shown keen interest in buying them.

    “Investors are keen on our projects and we are going to bid out the same,” the official said.

    Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has earlier told PTI that monetisation of public-funded highway projects could result in funds in the range of Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh crore initially.

    Ever since the government’s nod for monetisation, NHAI has been conducting traffic studies related to such projects, the revenue streams available and their overall viability.

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on August 3 last year had authorised NHAI to monetise the public-funded highway projects for mobilising funds.

    Close to 75 operational NH projects completed under public funding have been preliminarily identified for potential monetisation using the toll operate transfer (TOT) Model.

    The corpus generated from proceeds of such project monetisation could be utilised by the government to meet its fund requirements regarding future development and operation and maintenance of highways in the country and could address development of highways in unviable geographies.

    Market feedback indicates that certain institutional investors from outside the country have long-term investment appetite and are keen to participate in operational highway projects with stable toll revenue outlook.

    These investors generally hesitate from taking construction risk, but are willing to look at de-risked Brownfield road assets, the government has earlier said. T.Y. Hilton Jersey

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