Big boost! 50% land for Nagpur-Mumbai expressway acquired

At present, MSRDC collects toll from several projects such as the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai-Pune Expressway and old Mumbai-Pune highway. (Representation image: PTI)

In a boost to the Rs 46,000-crore Nagpur-Mumbai super-communication expressway (NMSCE), the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the nodal authority for the project, has completed acquisition of 50% of the total land area of 9,330 ha it requires for the project.

As per a general resolution issued by the state government, MSRDC cannot issue the request for proposal (RFP) documents unless it has 50% of land in its possession. With this hurdle being over, MSRDC is planning to float the RFP documents next week to invite companies to bid for the project. The project is being tendered under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model.

Kiran Kurundkar, joint managing director of MSRDC, said the corporation already has 42% of private land in its possession. He told FE, “We are adding to it on a daily basis as the process of land acquisition is a daily affair. Moreover, the non-forest government land of about 500 ha is also available. At this pace, we will have acquired about 50% of the total land required for the project by next week.”

In addition, MSRDC already has commitments from 12 banks for an amount of `12,000 crore. This does not include State Bank of India, which, according to sources, is expected to commit “a big amount on its own”.

The financing from banks is expected to take care of civil engineering or construction costs of the project, which is pegged at about Rs 24,000-26,000 crore. The South Korean government, which had expressed interest in the project in September 2017, is yet to decide on the amount it will commit. It is believed that they are evaluating the 16 construction packages and may evince interest in funding at least one or two of these.

But irrespective of the interest shown by the South Korean government, MSRDC is confident of closing the financing for the project in near future. What is expected to help its efforts is the assurance by the state government to lenders that no revision in tolling policies that may impact MSRDC’s repayment capacity will be effected.

At present, MSRDC collects toll from several projects such as the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai-Pune Expressway and old Mumbai-Pune highway.

Meanwhile, for acquiring land, MSRDC has received about Rs 5,500 crore from the five state-owned bodies in Maharashtra, i.e., CIDCO, MIDC, SRA, MHADA and MMRDA. In addition, Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco) has given Rs 1,800 crore, while MSRDC itself may chip in with around Rs 3,000 crore, if required.

Kurundkar said, “For 42% of the land, we have disbursed less than Rs 4,000 crore. We may not even need the entire Rs 10,000 crore we had estimated initially for the total land we require. We have to wait and see.”

MSRDC is confident of starting construction of the project in 2018.