expressway, “we cannot say we don’t have a stake and I can allow an interplay between the banker and the concessionaire and let them do what they want”.
Singh explained that had NHAI in the ‘interest of the public’ decided to expropriate the project, the bankers would have suffered and would hesitate to fund projects in the future. “If banks are reckless, then tomorrow a situation will arise when the concessionaire will not be able to spend on O&M because the debt servicing is so onerous. But in the Gurgaon case, we believed it was a solution that would help all parties”.
On the rescheduling package approved by the Rangarajan Commitee, Singh said projects that involved making two lanes into four lanes would benefit from the premium being deferred. “Developers who are doing 2-4 laning are quite happy and there are around 20-25 projects that have started, where the premium amounts may vary from Rs 8-9 crore to Rs 100 crore. These projects will be better off and should not fall into the NPA category and they will be able to service their debt”, Singh said.
However, where the lanes are being increased from four to six, and where revenue from the toll were already coming in, these developers would find the package less helpful. Singh said developers who had not started construction were in two minds on whether to go ahead. “The major project is GMR’s and the possibility of it starting with this dispensation is somewhat remote. Around 8-9 projects are yet to start and we hope these too will take off unless they are not able to raise equity.”