Saturday, January 28, 2006

Toll for Bangalore expressway linked to WPI

Toll for Bangalore expressway linked to WPI

The Hindu

Bangalore , Jan 27

BANGALORE Elevated Tollway Ltd (BETL), which has been awarded the expressway project on the Bangalore-Hosur section of the National Highway connecting the Electronic City, has proposed a toll of Rs 10 to Rs 70 per trip for different modes of vehicles, including heavy commercial vehicles.

The toll rate will be linked to the wholesale price index with an option to revise the rate every year to protect itself from any escalation in its operational costs during the 20-year concession period under the Build-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) contract.

The three-member consortium has to undertake the work of topping the surface during the concession period, when any increase in the input cost could impact the toll rate.

However, Mr Ankineedu Maganti, Director of Soma Enterprises, lead member of the consortium, said: "We do not anticipate any major increase in the wholesale price index. In the last five years, the index has not seen more than a 4-4.5 per cent increase."

Speaking to newspersons on Friday, he said that the project would be funded by both equity and debt.

The financial closure for the project is expected to be completed in six months.

With the completion of the project, composed of a four-lane expressway to the Electronic City supported by a six-lane ground level road and a two-lane service lane, the IT industry hopes to get relief from traffic bottlenecks.

The consortium consists of Soma Enterprise Ltd, Nagarjuna Construction Corporation (NCC), and Maytas Infra Pvt Ltd.

It won the Rs 765-crore project through a competitive bid floated by the National Highway Authority of India.

The project consists of a 25-km-long road, which includes the elevated highway, and is expected to be completed in 30 months after work starts in February.

Initially, the project - estimated to cost Rs 450 crore - was to be implemented under the private-public partnership of Electronic City Industrial Association, NHAI, and the Karnataka Government with each holding equal equity of 33.3 per cent.

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