The toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway could be just a week or two from being removed, with both the present operator and the lead bankers having agreed to all but one of the proposals for sharing liabilities.
The only difference is on the issue of some additional liabilities which both sides said would be resolved in the next few days. The toll plaza is a major traffic bottleneck on the stretch and efforts for its removal have been on for the past two years.
After listening to both parties and also the national highways authority, the Delhi high court on Wednesday granted a last opportunity to all parties to settle their dispute by Monday even though the lead financer of the project struck a discordant note, terming the talks as a “complete waste of time.”
“Either settle the issue by Monday or get ready to argue the case on that day itself,” Justice Manmohan Singh said, giving a final opportunity to the parties to attempt a settlement.
Appearing for the lead banker, Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC), Harish Salve told the court that there was no scope left for a settlement. “This is a complete waste of time,” Salve said, adding that the matter be heard and decided by the court as the operator — Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL) — wants an “open ended” settlement which would mean that IDFC would be held liable for any old claims that could surface in future.
TOI has learnt that NHAI, IDFC and DGSCL have agreed in-principle that the Delhi border toll plaza will go after the highway ministry issues fresh toll notification, which would leave only the Kherki Dhaula plaza in operation on the stretch. Secondly, after IDFC takes over the project all liabilities will go to the bankers.
As per the bilateral agreement between IDFC and DGSCL, the lenders will pay about Rs 9.65 crore and another Rs 3.85 crore to DSGCL for liabilities of the project including vendor liabilities, and the severance package of employees. The bankers will also pay nearly Rs 16 crore as outstanding dues to NHAI and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which has a share in the toll collections.
Sources said the lenders have agreed to take over the liabilities, but they are worried about unpaid dues that may surface later. IDFC wants DGSCL to be liable for any such claims, sources said.
“The draft consent order references bilateral agreement between IDFC and DGSCL which details out the responsibility and treatment of the various liabilities. These details are still being discussed between IDFC and the concessionaire in order to reach a final agreement…,” DGSCL said in a state.
Source: Economic Times