NHAI FORMS TWO PANELS TO FAST-TRACK DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to address nearly 280 pending claims worth Rs 430 billion as well as future cases. It has set up two panels comprising six independent experts, including a former central vigilance commissioner (CVC) and a former Lokayukta, for conciliation and settlement of disputes. The decisions of the panels, one headed by former CVC Pradeep Kumar and the other by former Allahabad High Court Judge Justice I.P. Vasishth, will be binding on the NHAI and contractors. The panels also include experts from the corporate world. Meanwhile, the NHAI has notified the guidelines for the new mechanism, wherein neither the contractor nor the authority would have to engage any advocate. New cases will be referred to the expert panels only after the NHAI chairman and the board of directors have exhausted their scope of conciliation and settlement.
MSRDC RECEIVES 33 BIDS FOR MUMBAI-NAGPUR COMMUNICATION EXPRESSWAY PROJECT
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDC) has received 33 bids for the Mumbai-Nagpur Communication Expressway Project in response to the requests for qualification issued in March 2017. The project is being implemented in 16 packages which are – Package I (28.4 km, Rs 10 billion), Package II (60.95 km, Rs 21.5 billion), Package III (73.36 km, Rs 26 billion), Package IV (54.35 km, Rs 19 billion), Package V (42.87 km, Rs 15 billion), Package VI (36.1 km, Rs 13 billion), Package VII (51.18 km, Rs 18 billion), Package VIII (42.72 km, Rs 15 billion), Package IX (54.4 km, Rs 18.5 billion), Package X (57.9 km, Rs 20 billion), Package XI (29.39 km, Rs 10.5 billion), Package XII (45.65 km, Rs 15 billion), Package XIII (45.65 km, Rs 15 billion), Package XIV (13.1 km, Rs 20 billion), Package XV (28 km, Rs 15 billion), and Package XVI (37 km, Rs 25 billion). The project involves the construction of a communication expressway from Nagpur to Mumbai, passing through Ghoti, Aurangabad and Amravati, and connecting Vidarbha, Marathwada and North Maharashtra at an estimated cost of Rs 460 billion. It is scheduled to be completed by October 2019.
POWER MINISTRY FIRMS UP RS 17,000 CR PLAN TO REVIVE STRANDED HYDEL PROJECT
The Power Ministry has finalised a policy for reviving 40 hydro power projects of 11,639 MW, provide support of Rs 16,709 crore and declare all large and small hydro projects as renewable energy. Removing the distinction between large and small hydro plants would enable India to achieve clean power capacity of 225 GW by 2022. At present, a hydro power project up to 25 MW is classified under renewable energy and is entitled to various incentives provided by the government.
Under the policy, the government will provide interest subvention of 4 per cent during construction for up to 7 years and three years after starting commercial operation to all hydro power projects above 25 MW. It is proposed that the funding for this policy would come from coal cess or national clean energy fund or non- lapsable central pool of resources for Northeastern states for eight years till 2024-25.
A Hydro Power Fund would be created under the Power Ministry for providing funds to the projects under the policy. The policy also provides for Hydro Purchase Obligation (HPO) for hydro projects of over 25 MW capacity. Under this the discoms would be mandated to buy a proportion of power from these plants. However, this benefit would be available to those hydro power plants, which would be able to begin commercial operations after five years of notification of this policy.
The policy would also mandate Power Ministry to engage with bankers and financial institutions for modifying lending terms and conditions for hydro power projects.
BIDS TO BE ISSUED FOR DREDGING WORK IN TRIBENI-FARAKKA
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is expected to issue bids for developing Garden Reach (GR) jetty and undertaking dredging work in Tribeni-Farakka stretch of the Haldia-Allahabad IWT project (NW-1) soon. All the necessary permissions for the same have been obtained. Meanwhile, IWAI has also asked the West Bengal government to provide a list of areas earmarked for the development of GR jetty and roll-on/roll-off facilities.
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