Centre approves Rs 699 crore project to double-lane Gujarat border highway

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New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Friday announced the approval of a Rs 699.19 crore project for upgrading the Khokhra Gujarat Border – Vijayanagar – Antarsuba – Mathasur Road section of National Highway 58 in Palanpur district of Gujarat to a 2-lane highway.

The minister said National Highway-58 connects Gujarat and Rajasthan and also connects Ambaji Temple, Udaipur, Polo Forest and other archaeological monuments and various tourist places.

“This section of National Highway 58 is proposed to upgrade the existing single/two-lane road to 2 lanes and involves realignment in 14 stretches passing through hilly terrain. The project will provide better connectivity and boost economic activities in the region,” the minister said.

He said that the project has been sanctioned under the Hybrid Annuity Model which is a variant of the public-private partnership (PPP) mode and is adopted for projects not considered viable in BOT (Toll) mode.

“Under the hybrid model, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) pays 40 per cent of the total project expenditure. This payment is released in ten equal instalments based on the completion of targeted project milestones. The remaining 60 per cent amount has to be arranged by the road developer,” the minister added.

He said that the project concessionaire is selected through an open, transparent and competitive bidding process.

“While the concessionaire is responsible for the maintenance of the highway, the toll collection is undertaken by the NHAI,” the minister said.

He said that the government is keen to promote the public-private partnership projects as they help more investment can come into the infrastructure sector.

“Private companies on their own are reluctant to invest in these projects as they have a long gestation lag before they are completed and returns start to flow in,” the minister said.

–IANS

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