Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Kamal Nath promised to hasten the bidding process for the upgradation of the six-lane highway to the Bangalore International Airport to a ten-lane one. Responding to a request from the Principal Secretary, Karnataka Infrastructure Department, V. Madhu, to expedite the project at an interactive session organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce on Friday, Mr. Kamal Nath said the detailed project report being prepared by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would be ready in three months.
“We will try and start the bidding process in three months,” he said. Mr. Madhu said the present plan to make the ten-lane highway in ten years would result in the highway being choked within three years.
Mr. Kamal Nath said although the NHAI had received bids for several roads connecting the metropolitan centres and larger cities, there had been no bids for several projects in the relatively backward States such as Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. “For instance, there have been no bids from private investors for the Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway project for which bids were recently invited,” he said. He urged private companies participating in infrastructure projects to “adapt practices to meet specific needs in India.”
“We may have to sweeten the offer in order to attract investors,” he added.
Mr. Kamal Nath said 16,000 single-lane roads, part of the National Highways network, were being offered for maintenance to private parties. “This will be on an Operate-Manage-Toll basis,” he said. Private companies had shown “huge interest” in the project because of the favourable conditions offered by the government, he said.
Referring to road safety, the Minister said the government would be tabling the National Road Safety and Traffic Management Bill in the next session of Parliament.