Centre moves to complete pending NHAI projects
Various steps have been taken by the government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to remove the hurdles affecting the construction of highway projects. The steps include streamlining of land acquisition and regulatory clearances, close coordination with other ministries, and a revamped Disputes Resolution Mechanism. So far 112 NHAI projects have been delayed due to issues like land acquisition, utility shifting, non-availability of soil or aggregates, poor performance of contractors, delay in statutory clearances, public agitation, and disputes. The government has permitted one-time fund infusion to revive and physically complete languishing national highway projects under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode and also allowed rationalised compensation to concessionaires, in case delays are not attributable to them, to address the funds crunch in such highway projects. With a view to ameliorate the shortage of equity and improve liquidity, the government has also allowed securitisation of future cash flows, deferment of premium in stressed highway projects, harmonious substitution in financially stressed highway projects and 100 per cent equity divestment after two years of construction of all highway projects under PPP mode.