Terms re-negotiated for troubled Delhi-Gurgaon road

An Egis/DSC team has signed an agreement with the Indian highways authority to reduce tolls and add lanes to the troubled Delhi-Gurgaon build-operate-transfer road project.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway to try and solve long-running congestion problems plaguing the highway.

Egis Infra Management India, a joint venture between France’s Egis Road Operation and Indian firm DSC Limited, operates the toll plaza.

To solve the congestion problem, the Indian High Court had directed the NHAI to convene a meeting with the concessionaire and the state government to find a permanent solution to the traffic snarls.

The terms they have agreed will see the concessionaire return INR3.67 billion (52.8 million; USD 68.7 million) to senior lenders, which includes IDFC and four other public sector banks. The total amount lent by the creditors was INR12 billion.

According to the agreement, tolls will also be reduced by 50 percent for personal traffic and 33 percent for commercial traffic. An additional 11 lanes will be built  to reduce congestion at the toll plaza.

Electronic tags have been in use to pay the toll amount. These will now be sold without payment of a one time deposit. A cheaper touch card technology at a nominal price will also be introduced. And CCTV cameras will be installed on the entire highway project to improve traffic management.

If the concessionaire does not implement these measures, the NHAI reserves the right to terminate the concession agreement.

The High Court has also banned toll collection on the highway until September 25, the next date for the case hearing.

The Delhi Gurgaon Expressway is one of the busiest highways in the country. It connects the Indian capital with its airports and national highways and is used by an average of 200,000 vehicles per day.