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Asset monetisation plan for roads on track, govt to open bids in Oct to monetise 436 km of NHs

The road ministry plans to monetise a total of 5,350 km stretch of highways this fiscal.

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New Delhi: The asset monetisation plan of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for this fiscal is on track with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) opening bids this month to monetise another five completed national highway stretches spanning 436 km, senior road ministry officials told ThePrint. 

This includes the 135 km-long Eastern Peripheral Expressway constructed in 2018 to decongest Delhi. “We have invited bids for three packages — 6th, 7th and 8th — of completed highway stretches. The bids will be opened on 26 October. We are expecting a good response from investors,” Road Secretary Giridhar Aramane told ThePrint. 

While there are two stretches — the 32.8 km Agra bypass and 75 km Shivpuri-Jhansi stretch of national highway — in package 6, package 7 comprises just one completed highway stretch, the 135 km Eastern Peripheral Expressway. Package 8 comprises two highways, the 139 km Maharashtra-Telangana border stretch and 54 km Puri- Bhubaneshwar stretch. 

All the five stretches will be monetised through Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) under which  completed public funded road projects are awarded to a private developer on his bid, for a period of 30 years in lieu of upfront payment. The private investor gets the right over toll, and operates and maintains the national highway for the entire duration of the concession period.   

“Around 68 inventors including foreign ones such as Australia’s Macquarie and Singapore’s Cube Highways participated in the pre-bid meetings. There is a positive response from investors,” a senior NHAI official, who did not want to be named, said.

Two modes for asset monetisation

In all, the road ministry plans to monetise a total of 5,350 km stretch of highways this fiscal through two modes — TOT, which is in use since 2018, and Infrastructure Investment Funds (InvIT).  

The first tranche of NHAI InvIT transaction is expected to be completed by October-end, a senior road ministry official said. The indicative value of the NHAI InvIT fund raised from the current tranche underway is about Rs 5,000 crore. It consists of 390 km of NH assets in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Telangana.

NHAI InvIT has been set up with the objective of monetising its completed and operational NH projects through alternative sources such as capital markets and diversification of its investor base. 

So far, NHAI has received Rs 17,000 crore by way of monetising its road assets through TOT.

According to the asset pipeline drawn up by Niti Aayog, the total indicative monetisation value of road assets listed is estimated at Rs 1.6 lakh crore. Spanning 26,700 km, they constitute around 22 per cent of the total National Highways, estimated to be about 1,21,155 km, excluding the network operated by the private sector under BOT (Toll) based PPP concessions. 

The NHAI has so far taken out five packages of completed highway projects for monetisation through the TOT mode. While it received Rs 9,681 crore, which was 1.5 times higher than the base price fixed by it for the first package comprising 10 projects totalling 681 km, it had to withdraw the second and fourth package because of lackluster response from investors.

(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)

Also read: 1,380 km long, 8 lanes, tunneling through sanctuary: All about Delhi-Mumbai Expressway





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