The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) gave “intention to issue termination notice” to the developer of Gurgaon-Jaipur highway on Tuesday evening on account of poor maintenance and slow progress of work.
After giving a long rope to the developer, the Pink City Expressway Private Limited (PCEPL), and the bankers to push construction and maintenance, the NHAI move is seen as the final ultimatum to both the parties to either perform or exit the project, which has become a horror highway.
Work on this stretch started in April 2009 and 2011 was the original deadline for completing the construction. But even after missing that milestone by over two years, the six-laning work is nowhere near completion.
Moreover, the highway has several bad patches due to maintenance causing major congestion.
The move has come after the authority has issued a 60-day “cure notice” (time to rectify the faults in the project) to the concessionaire which ended in December. The developer has now 15 days to come up with a reply before the authority.
On the request of the developer, a supplementary agreement was signed on December 20, 2013. Under this PCEPL agreed to construct 53 structures on the highway by July 15, 2014 and remaining four by October 15. “It was observed that although the concessionaire has signed the supplementary agreement there is no remobilization at site and project work seems abandoned,” said the official.
The possible outcome of the development is that either the concessionaire agreed to complete the project or banks would have the first right to substitute the developer. However, finding the alternative developer will be difficult for the banks given the cost escalation. The authority, meanwhile, is also considering to take up the project on its own through EPC (engineering procurement construction) where the government form its own pocket will fund the project.
“We will try our best to maintain the highway in traffic worthy condition. Our main aim is to remove any kind of inconvenience being faced by the commuters,” the official added.