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Highway authority tries to lure smaller players to monetise projects | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In a first, the National Highways Authority of India (

NHAI

) has invited bids for auctioning of

single highway stretches

under the monetisation programme to attract investment from small domestic players.

The highways authority has invited bids for three such stretches in

Gujarat

. The first stretch is 56 km and the two other stretches of 106 km have been clubbed. As the NHAI Board has decided, the authority has not indicated the benchmark price for projects being monetised under the Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) model.

“This is a test case to see the response of smaller players in this segment. There have been discussions and suggestions that bundles should be small,” said a source.

The NHAI had been inviting bids for a bunch of completed projects to attract investment by big players including foreign investors.

Total contract period of TOT is 20 years in which the concessionaire is required to maintain and operate the stretch. In lieu of this, the concessionaire will get the right to collect and retain user fee for these stretches for the contract period and they cannot charge more than the notified user charges.

For better price discovery, the NHAI had recently decided not to disclose the bid price while floating tenders for monetisation of already completed stretches.

The board has members from

Niti Aayog

and finance ministry besides from NHAI and transport ministry. “It was decided that we need to follow the norms of the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM). So, we have amended the bid document and the model concession agreement. We will also modify the tender for monetisation of Bundle-4 stretches under toll operate and transfer (TOT) model,” said an official.

He added there is a reasoning that the bidders may quote more when they are told about the benchmark price in the tender document. The NHAI has so far monetised two bunches of completed projects attracting investment of around Rs 15,000 crore. Meanwhile, highway ministry officials said they have also worked out a model for bidding out projects on public private partnership models and government funding mode.

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