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NHAI launches InvIT, board will meet to allocate units

As part of National Monetisation Pipeline, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched its Infrastructure Investment Trust (NHAI InvIT), said a press statement.

In view of the long-term nature of the assets, the units of NHAI InvIT were offered to international and domestic institutional investors. The total enterprise value of the 5 roads was pegged at Rs.8011.52 crore, added the statement.

NHAI InvIT is funding that through debt of Rs.2000 crore from State Bank of India, Axis Bank and Bank of Maharshtra. The balance is being funded by issuing units of Rs.6011.52 crore to international and domestic institutional investors, and NHAI as Sponsor.

NHAI InvIT was able to attract international pension funds and a persified group of domestic institutional investors comprising pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, banks and financial institutions, which have submitted their bids for Rs.6203 crore, said NHAI.

The Board of the Investment Manager of NHAI InvIT will meet on November 3, 2021 to decide on the allocation of units to investors.

“NHAI InvIT is expected to provide attractive long term returns to its investors. Participation by marquee international and domestic investors will also benefit NHAI InvIT in the areas of governance, transparency and quality maintenance of national assets,” said Giridhar Armane, Secretary MoRTH and NHAI Chairman.

NHAI InvIT has been set up to monetize its road projects, with an initial portfolio of five operating toll roads with an aggregate length of 390 kilometers.

These roads are located across the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Telangana. NHAI has granted new concessions of 30-years for these roads.

This is the second InvIT in the country to be floated by a public sector company after PowerGrid Corporation of India (PGC) raised about Rs 3,480 crore in April.

Three top Canadian pension funds, including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and leading local insurers such as Life Insurance Corp. of India and HDFC Life are among the frontline investors likely to buy into the InvIT, ET had reported in August.

Other likely investors are the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTTP), besides India’s ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, ET had said.

Besides institutional investors, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is also considering an investment in the InvIT.

As part of the monetisation programme announced by the government, NHAI plans to sell about 32 more operational road assets spanning 1,500 km as well as upcoming ToT (toll operate transfer) projects.

Road ministry to seek Cabinet nod for townships alongside highways: Nitin Gadkari

The Road Transport and Highways Ministry will seek the Cabinet’s approval for allowing construction of smart cities, townships, logistic parks and industrial clusters along the national highways, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday. Addressing a virtual event, Gadkari said his aim is to construct world-class highway networks and the road transport and highways ministry has chalked out a plan for monetising existing highways projects for infra capital generation.

“And now we have prepared a cabinet note for approval ….for making roadside townships, smart cities, logistic parks, industrial clusters,” he said.

“We are making 400 roadside amenities,” Gadkari added.

The minister also said that his ministry is planning to construct tunnels worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

Gadkari also said that use of steel and cement should be reduced in road construction without compromising on quality through innovation and research.

He said CNG, LNG and ethanol should be used for the road equipment machinery.

The minister emphasised on import substitution, cost effective, pollution free and indigenous methods and development of alternative fuel.

Gadkari said India with about 63 lakh kms of road network is the second largest road network in the world. The government is investing 1.4 trillion dollars i.e. Rs 111 lakh crores in infrastructure development through National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), he added.

The government has also increased year on year infrastructure capex by 34 per cent to Rs. 5.54 lakh crore this year, he said. Increased investment in infrastructure would help create employment during the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

The minister said his aim is to construct a 60,000 km world class national highway at the rate of 40 km per day.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal reviews critical infrastructure projects

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has reviewed 59 issues in 20 critical infrastructure projects, with anticipated investment value of nearly Rs 2.7 lakh crore, an official statement said on Friday. The minister issued directions and timelines to ensure expeditious resolution of pending issues for timely commissioning of projects, it said.

Among the projects that were reviewed include dedicated freight corridors along eastern and western routes, and Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC), it said.

The minister also emphasized the importance of regular multi-level monitoring of infrastructure projects that are critical to the economic growth and employment generation in the country, the statement added.

“The minister reviewed 59 issues in 20 critical infrastructure projects with anticipated investment value of nearly Rs 2.7 lakh crore,” it said.

Senior officials of key central ministries including Railways, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Road Transport and Highways, Environment, Forest and Climate Change were also present in the meeting.

The meeting was held on June 29.

AKIC traverses through seven states and would facilitate development of industrial manufacturing in the region of eastern dedicated freight corridor.

Government mulls regular multi-level monitoring of critical infra projects

The Centre has decided on regular multi-level monitoring of infrastructure projects that are critical to the economic growth and employment generation in the country.

As part of the drive, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Railways and Consumer Affairs, Piyush Goyal chaired a meeting for the review of 20 large-scale infrastructure projects with issues enlisted for resolution, with the Project Monitoring Group on the June 29.

Som Prakash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Chief Secretaries of Governments of Bihar, Haryana and Tamil Nadu, and Additional Chief Secretary, Industries of Government of Maharashtra participated in the meeting through Video Conference.

Senior officials of key Central Ministries, including Railways, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Road Transport and Highways, Environment, Forest and Climate Change were also present to discuss issues affecting the progress of work and timely completion of these critical projects.

Goyal reviewed 59 issues in 20 critical infrastructure projects with anticipated investment value of nearly Rs 2.7 lakh crore. This includes 11 projects previously reviewed under PRAGATI by the Prime Minister.

Among the projects reviewed, Dedicated Freight Corridors along eastern and western routes will augment capacity of rail freight transportation and establish industrial zones at junction points.

Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor traverses through seven states and facilitate development of industrial manufacturing in the influence region of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor.

The minister issued directions and timelines to ensure expeditious resolution of pending issues for timely commissioning of projects.

Reserve Bank supersedes boards of Srei Infrastructure, Srei Equipment Finance

The Reserve Bank of India said on Monday it has superseded the board of directors of non-banking financial companies

Srei Infrastructure

Finance Ltd and Srei Equipment Finance Limited due to governance concerns and defaults, adding that it will initiate bankruptcy proceedings against them.

Rajneesh Sharma, the former Chief General Manager of the Bank of Baroda, has been appointed the administrator.

Last week, a consortium of lenders led by UCO Bank sought central bank directions on pursuing recovery of dues from the Srei Group after loans worth about Rs 30,000 crore to the Kolkata-based financier officially qualified to be moved to the list of non-performing assets (NPA) this quarter.

Srei Infrastructure, and its subsidiary Srei Equipment Finance, together owe lenders and debenture holders a total of Rs 30,000 crore. Kolkata-based UCO Bank is the lead lender, with more than Rs 2,000 crore of exposure. State Bank of India (SBI)’s exposure to the group is also more than Rs 2,000 crore.

The bank loans have turned non-performing assets after the end of the September quarter, two senior bank executives told ET.

The company had earlier announced that Arena Investors, Makara Capital and others had evinced interest to invest in the company to the tune of Rs 2,200 crore. The company had formed a strategic coordination committee to coordinate, negotiate and conclude discussions with the investors.

Till date, it received expressions of interest from 11 investors and has signed non-disclosure agreements with nine of them. Two Investors — Makara and Arena — had submitted non-binding term sheets indicating their intent for investment.

Srei Infrastructure, which is a listed entity, reported a net loss of Rs 971 crore in the June quarter as against Rs 23 crore net profit in the year ago period as provisions on loans rose nearly seven times to Rs 439 crore over the same period as repayment collections were hit due to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.

with inputs from Atmadip Ray

( Originally published on Oct 04, 2021 )

Greater Noida Authority invites bids for ready to move shops, kiosks

A scheme was launched Monday for the e-auction of office spaces, shops and commercial kiosks in Greater Noida, officials said.

The last date of application submission is October 11, the Greater Noida Authority said.

These commercial spaces, including 42 shops and 31 kiosks, are ready to move and possession for them will be handed over within 60 days of allotment, Greater Noida Authority’s Additional CEO Deep Chandra said.

“The scheme has been initiated today (September 6). Application forms can be downloaded from the portal of the Greater Noida Authority as well as the

State Bank of India

(SBI) till October 4,” the officer said in a statement.

“The e-auction date for these shops and kiosks is October 11,” he added.

According to officials, the shops and offices are located in Sector Gamma I’s Kadamba Estate, Ecotech-II’s BM Market, Swarnanagari, Delta I and II, Kasna Bus Depot, Alpha I and II, Beta II shopping centre.

The kiosks are located in Sectors Ecotech II, Ecotech III, Pi II, II and III, Phi, Chi and Sigma II, Sector 37 and Omicron 3, they said.

( Originally published on Sep 06, 2021 )

Road ministry built 13,327 km of highways in FY21: Nitin Gadkari

The Road Transport and Highways ministry has constructed 13,327 km of National Highways in 2020-21, which works out to about 37 km per day, Parliament was informed on Thursday.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Gadkari said to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic effect, his ministry took initiatives under Atmanirbhar Bharat and provided several COVID-19 relief measures to contractors, concessionaires and consultants, including extension of time for 3-9 months.

He also noted that the cost of ongoing projects may increase due to site, local and project specific factors or other factors including price escalation during the project time cycle.

In BOT projects, escalation cost is absorbed by the concessionaire, while in other projects, price escalation is payable as per contract conditions, and the actual amount of price escalation and inter-alia the actual increase in project cost, if any, is known only on actual completion of the project and final settlement of bills.

Replying to a separate question, the minister said out of total 1,39,032 km, about 37,058 km National Highways have 4/6 lane infrastructure.

Gadkari said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had approved the proposal for investment approval for Phase-I of “Bharatmala Pariyojana” on October 24,2017 for an amount of Rs 5,35,000 crores.

“Once Bharatmala Pariyojana is implemented, it is envisaged that the National Highway network of length 70,000+ km (50 per cent of National Highway Network) will have a consistent 4-lane and above infrastructure,” he said.

Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase–I includes development of about 24,800 km NH network such as Economic corridors, Inter-corridor & feeder roads, National Corridors Efficiency Improvements, Border and International Connectivity roads, Coastal and Port Connectivity roads, Expressways as well as 10,000 km of roads under balance NHDP.

Replying to another question, Gadkari said the ministry has set a target of construction of 12,000 km of National Highways in 2021-22.

Integrated Command and Control Centre coming up in Jammu under Smart Cities Mission

An Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) is being established in Jammu city under the Smart Cities Mission to create an IT-based monitoring system bringing various smart services and solutions under one umbrella, officials said on Tuesday. The Jammu Smart City Limited (JSCL) recently signed a contract agreement with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for setting up the ICCC for Jammu city at a cost of Rs 53 crore, they said.

The ICCC will integrate all civic and essential services into a single platform aimed at monitoring and addressing public issues in real time, the officials said.

Chief Executive Officer of JSCL Avny Lavasa visited one of the two centres that will be set up in Jammu city on Monday, they said, adding that she enquired about the installation of the Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS).

The officials said the ICCC would serve as the nerve centre for various citizen-centric services and would lead to efficient monitoring and delivery of such services.

Once operational, they said, the ICCC would have representatives from all departments stationed at the headquarters for prompt coordination and redressal of public issues.

Through an ICCC, it is possible to quickly disseminate information to citizens on a real-time basis through variable message displays (VMD) and public address systems to facilitate faster action and better management, the officials said.

They said the ambitious project also includes an ITMS to address and resolve a variety of traffic law enforcement challenges.

Jammu Smart City is closely working with the J&K Police to make the ITMS functional in the coming months, the officials said.

40 percent work of Mumbai coastal road project complete: Civic chief

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has completed 40 per cent physical work of the Rs 12,000 crore-worth coastal road project from Marine Drive to Worli, including a one-km-long tunnel, BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Thursday. The project will be completed in November 2023, he said in a statement.

The work completed so far includes a tunnel of one-km length and 40-feet diameter under the Malabar Hill in south Mumbai. Only work on 900 metres of the tunnel is remaining now, Chahal said.

It is the “first-of-its kind” under-sea tunnel project of 40-feet diameter executed in the country, he claimed.

According to Chahal, the coastal road project being executed by the civic body between Marine Drive and Worli is 27-km-long and includes 16-km-long interchanges.

The project also includes a 125-acre garden on the reclaimed land abutting the coastal road with an underground parking facility for 1,852 cars.

“The work is going on round-the-clock in three shifts and the project will be completed in November 2023,” Chahal stated.

As per BMC’s website, the civic body has envisaged the Mumbai coastal road project-south (MCRP) along the western seafront of the city to de-congest the existing roads.

In the first phase, this ambitious eight-lane project intends to connect Shamaldas Gandhi Marg (Princess Street Flyover, Marine Drive) in south Mumbai to the Worli-end of the Bandra-Worli sealink, comprising a combination of coastal road based on reclamation, tunnels, flyovers, elevated roads, interchanges and sea wall/break wall, it said.

As per the website, India’s largest 12.19-metre-diameter tunnel is being constructed 20 metres below the shore of the Arabian Sea and 70 metres below the Malabar Hill and has three lanes for transportation for south and north bound traffic.

One of the lanes is proposed to be reserved for emergency transport, according to the BMC.

“The objective of this project is to provide an alternate North-South Trunk route for the people of Mumbai which provides improved mobility to relieve the traffic congestion in Mumbai, enhances environment and leads to sustainable development of much needed recreational public open spaces,” says the BMC’s website.

( Originally published on Sep 23, 2021 )

Jyotiraditya Scindia inaugurates Sindhudurg airport in Konkan region of Maharashtra

The newly-constructed Sindhudurg airport in the Konkan region of Maharashtra started commercial operations on Saturday with Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia virtually flagging off an Alliance Air flight to Mumbai from the facility.

The state’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray attended the event virtually from the Sindhudurg airport as the guest of honour, while Union Minister Narayan Rane was among the other dignitaries, an official statement said on Saturday.

Alliance Air, which is the regional arm of Air India, was awarded the Sindhudurg-Mumbai route under the UDAN 3.1 of the central government’s regional connectivity scheme.

With the operationalisation of the greenfield (fresh) airport at Chipi in Sindhudurg district, it has become the 14th aerodrome in the state.

“The inauguration of the Sindhudurg airport and start of the flight to Mumbai mark a new chapter in the glorious history of the Konkan region.

“This development will open new avenues of growth of local trade and tourism. I am sure, with the huge potential of the region, the number of daily flights will increase to 20-25 within the next five years,” Scindia said in the statement.

Developed by IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt Ltd, an SPV of IRB Infrastructure Developers, the greenfield (fresh) facility, also known as the Chipi airport, is spread over 275 hectares. It has a 2,500-metre-long runway, which is capable for the operation of narrow-body aircraft like Airbus A320 and Boeing B-737.

It will have a capacity to handle 200 departing and 200 arriving passengers during peak hours.

“We are very happy to see the airport commissioned and the first commercial passenger flight landing and taking off. We now look forward to seeing more airlines and travellers coming in and using this facility that will facilitate the economic development of the district and the Konkan region above all.

“It will boost our morale in developing more such infrastructure for the state and the country,” Virendra D Mhaiskar, chairman and managing director of IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd, said in a statement.

To date, 381 routes and 61 airports, including five heliports and two water aerodromes, have been operationalised under the UDAN scheme, as per the statement.

With the introduction of the air services on the route, the travel time between Sindhudurg and Mumbai, which is 10 hours now, will be reduced massively, the statement said.

The day is a momentous day for the people of Maharashtra as the inauguration pins the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra on the national air map, it added.

These new flights will further add convenience and comfort to travellers creating a gateway for the people to easily access the Konkan region, it added.

The new services will facilitate the people of Sindhudurg not only in their travel to Mumbai but also opens the horizon of additional connectivity with other metro cities directly connected with Mumbai such as Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad.

Moreover, the Sindhudurg airport is a good option for people travelling to north Goa, according to the statement.

The Sindhudurg airport is the first of its kind in the south Konkan region, which will establish and enhance air connectivity of the region with western Maharashtra; southern states; Mumbai and subsequently to all regions of the country, IRB Infrastructure said in the statement.

It said the airport can handle 2 million passengers per annum, while the peak hour capacity is also extendable to 400 each for arrival and departure.

The facility also offers a cargo handling area of about 10,000 sq metres, which can be further expanded to meet future requirements, it added.

Besides, the Sindhudurg airport has abundant areas available for commercial developments, which brings out opportunities for the economic development of the region and scope for employment for local people, it said.

The airport also has ample dedicated land available to expand various existing facilities in future, depending upon the growing needs with the provision for extending the runway to 3,400 meters and expanding parking bays to 15 from three at present, the company said.

The airport, being the strategically important facility, also has potentials and provisions to handle critical situations like emergency landings as well as be ready and equipped as a standby facility for nearby airports during exigencies, it stated.

Along with the robust safety and security arrangements, the airport has a dedicated isolation bay for handling the emergency, according to the company.

The airport will be a boon for the economic development of the region, as it will facilitate and boost cargo transportation; generate direct as well as indirect employment and other business opportunities for the local people, IRB Infra said.

It has the potentials to become a cargo hub of the western region, it said.