'BOT projects should get world bank-aided project status'
— H.S. Kohli, Chairman, KMP Expressways Ltd
KMP Expressway Ltd is developing the 136-km
Kundali-Manesar-Palwal expressway in Haryana, which is amongst India's
longest toll expressway. H.S. Kohli speaks to Venugopal Pillai on
challenges faced by infrastructure developers.
As a leading private infrastructure developer, what would
be your most important recommendations to government agencies to expedite large
The government does realize the importance of timely completion of large
infrastructure projects. Hence, to facilitate timely completion of such
projects, the Planning Commission has released a new model concession agreement.
However, the issue of utmost importance is complete handing over of encumbrance
free site for the project. Just as developers face penalty for delay in
execution, a rational approach should be devised which can compensate the
developer in case project is hindered due to delay in handing over of the site.
Secondly, large infrastructure projects should be seen as means to increase the
gross productivity of the country and they should be given special incentives in
terms of cheaper loans from financial institutions.
Also, BOT project should be given the same status as World Bank-aided project
where excise exemption is available. This will decrease the cost of the project
and consequently will lead to lesser concession periods thus directly benefiting
the end user.
Recent guidelines have made R&R compulsory before land acquisition starts for
state-level road projects. What is your reaction?
We are of the view that development activities are ultimately in national
interest. However, if rehabilitation and resettlement activity has to be
undertaken during the construction phase then it should take into consideration
the interests of all the parties involved. The new R&R guidelines are a welcome
step towards achieving this.
But, we have to be cautions and ensure that R&R issues do not become the
stumbling block for the development. For instance, China has effectively
undertaken large scale resettlement for the execution of Three Gorges Dam
project. Hence, we should constantly try to seek a balance between development
and covenant RR activities.
Talking about the KMP Expressway, what socio-economic impact do you see for
KMP will help in spatial integration of urban centers in the Haryana sub-region
of National Capital Region and thus provide smooth and quick transportation of
surplus food grains, milk products, fruits, and vegetables from the states of
Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir to other parts of the
Government of Haryana has already declared area around KMP as growth corridor
and large scale industrial and township development is planned along the
expressway. All the major SEZs approved for Haryana are coming along KMP.
Furthermore, the existing industries like Maruti Udyog, etc. are also planning
development along the expressway. This expressway will open up new areas
adjoining Delhi borders as future corridors of development. For the lesser
developed southern districts of Haryana this expressway will be instrumental in
opening new avenues of growth.
What is the status of land acquisition for the 136-km expressway?
The total land required for the project is 3,300 acres and almost complete land
has been handed over to us. Only a few small pockets of land meant for toll
plazas and interchanges with national highways is yet to be handed over, besides
which the complete land is available. Even the work on transfer of remaining
land is in process and we expect these small pockets to be handed over to us
What is the status on the earthwork along the alignment?
We have already initiated earthwork on more than 120 km stretch. As on date
close to 48 km of sub-grade top is ready and we are in a position to enter the
wet mix macadam (WMM) phase.
What about the auxiliary structures on the expressway?
If all small and big structures are taken into consideration, then there are
close to 500 structures along the Expressway. These structures include cross
drainage works like pipe culverts and box culverts, agriculture vehicle
underpass, pedestrian crossing, cattle crossing and single span under pass.
Further we will have close to 60 bigger structures like irrigation structures,
railway over bridge, multi span under pass, over pass and grade separators. Work
on most of these structures has started and foundation work on nine structures
has already been completed. We have already completed more than 100 piles.
When will the biggest phase of bituminous work start?
Theoretically we can start bituminous work in certain sections immediately.
However, for a project of 135.65 km it is not feasible to take up bituminous
work in bits and pieces. We are working as per our project plan and will take up
the bituminous work that will synchronise with the completion of structures/
approaches roads from the existing roads.
What major activities are currently under way on the project?
Work on the highway section and structures are in progress. In highway section
the usual work like earthwork, GSB laying and WMM is under way. For the
structures, piling work, well foundation, erection of casting yard, etc are in
Out of the total project cost of Rs 1,915 crore, how much expenditure has
been incurred so far? Do you foresee cost overruns?
We have already spent more than to 25 per cent of the total project cost. The
expenditure on the project will significantly increase once bituminous work
starts. Our vast experience in building over
[May 19-25, 2008]