Now, DLF consortium seeks road premium rescheduling

Toll RoadA consortium of DLF Infra and Gayatri Projects—Indore Dewas Tollways—is the latest in the series of projects seeking permission of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to reschedule the premium due to the government.

With this, the total number of road projects seeking to avail of the benefit of premium rescheduling stands at 15 against the 39 projects eligible for the relaxation. The NHAI board is likely to decide on the rescheduling requests only after mid-May, when a new government is in place, according to insiders.

The combined premium these developers owe to the government is to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore, spread over a span of 20 years.

Earlier, road projects, including two of IRB Infra, three of Reliance Infra and one each of Essel, Larsen & Toubro and Srei Infrastructure, had approached the NHAI for rescheduling their premium after the government allowed a policy in this regard.

The new entrants to the scheme include two projects of Sadbhav Engineering, one each of Oriental Structural Engineers, Sew-Navayuga Engineering, Transstroy India, BSCPL Infrastructure and the DLF-Gayatri consortium.

Following complaints by some road developers of a severe shortfall on the toll, a committee headed by C Rangarajan, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, in March this year suggested a policy to allow cash-starved the developers to reschedule their premium.

As per the policy, premium would be rescheduled in instances where developers were unable to service their debt, operating expenditure and the payment of premium. If the projected toll revenue fell short of the cost-plus premium, the government would consider the deferred amount as a loan to the developer carrying an interest of 10.75-11 percent.

Developers had bid aggressively over the years, promising the government a higher premium during a period in which the government bid out as many as 147 projects. The high expectation while bidding was attributed to India’s high economic growth, which has slowed considerably over the past few years.

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