Even as 65 acres were handed over to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for shifting the Kherki Daula toll plaza to Sehrawan, the authority may not be able to move the 42-km Toll by March 2018, as the concessionaire’s agreement expires in 2023.
The 28-km Delhi-Gurgaon expressway from Rao Tula Ram (RTR) to Kherki Daula toll plaza is run by a consortium of five nationalised banks through a special purpose vehicle—the Millennium City Expressway Private Limited (MCEPL). Beyond the Kherki Daula toll plaza, the highway, including the proposed site Sehrawan, which will be called 53-km Toll, is maintained by another concessionaire—the Pink City Expressway Limited.
The MCEPL claimed it spent Rs1,200 crore on the Delhi Gurgaon Expressway, including the toll plaza, and their interest stands at Rs800 crore taking the cost of shifting the toll to Rs2,000 crore. In January 2017, the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) and NHAI requested the concessionaire to wave of Rs800 crore and planned to buy the toll by collectively paying Rs1,200 crore. However, the HSIIDC pulled out citing fund crunch.
With this, the NHAI is left with two options—to buy off the toll completely by paying Rs1200 cr or it can bear the revenue loss likely to happen at new location.
“We are working on these options,” Ashok Kumar Sharma, NHAI project director, Gurgaon, said, adding that they will call a meeting with the MCEPL and request them to share their feasibility report with the NHAI board. According to a study conducted by the MCEPL, Sehrawan is a low-potential zone for revenue generation as compared to Kherki Daula, making the shift unviable for the consortium.
About 1.1 lakh vehicles pass through Kherki toll every day. This will reduce to about 60,000 once toll is shifted. MCEPL chief executive officer S Raguraman said, “I will speak with the banks after we get official communication from NHAI. I can say that Kherki Daula Toll is a high-potential site as compared to the one at Sehrawan. Shifting to a very low-potential zone would cause roughly 40% revenue loss to the company. On an average, the Kherki Daula Toll generates Rs40 lakh daily.”
The NHAI is under pressure from the Central government to shift the toll.
“The government can do anything provided there is a will to bring permanent relief to commuters and ease the business of Manesar industries. The concessionaire had earlier demanded Rs2,000 crore to remove the toll, and this amount would be difficult for any government to arrange,” Om Prakash, a resident of Manesar, said.
The industries in Manesar continue to be afflicted by regular jams on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway with long lines of vehicles on either sides of the toll plaza.