HYDERABAD: The HMDA has lost toll of around Rs 100 crore over two years from the Outer Ring Road (ORR) because the agreement with the toll collection agency has not been revised since 2018. The agent – Eagle Infra India Limited – has been collecting revised rates from commuters.
Highly placed sources said though the volume of vehicles on ORR has increased by 22 per cent, the agent has been remitting only Rs 24 crore to the HMDA. as finalised in 2018. Though the contract period ended last year, the agency had been given an extension without any official justification.
As HMDA has not invited tenders afresh, it has been losing about Rs 4 crore on a monthly basis since last two years.
It is a general practice for National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and other agencies, which operate and maintain expressways, to revise toll charges every year, said a senior official from Hyderabad Growth Corridor Limited (HGCL). Toll charges are hiked depending on the increase in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI). Though the government has given its nod for collecting the higher toll charges following a proposal by HGCL, the revision has not yet been affected.
"As per GO No. 365, under Nehru ORR (Toll) Rules-2012, user fee charges collected from vehicles are to be increased by 3 per cent annually over the charges during the previous year. The revision is to be affected from April 1 each year, with the hike being limited to 40 percent of increase in WPI,” the HGGL official explained.
When last revised, charges for car and jeep category vehicles had been increased from Rs 1.86 per km to Rs 1.92; LCV / mini bus from Rs 3.02 to Rs 3.11; bus / two-axle truck from Rs 5.33 to Rs 5.51; three-axle commercial vehicle from Rs 6.89 to Rs 7.11; heavy construction machinery / earth moving equipment / four, five and six axle trucks from Rs 9.89 per km to Rs 10.22 per km and oversized vehicles (seven or more axles) from Rs 12.05 per km to Rs 12.44 per km.
Asked why the toll rates have not been revised, a senior HMDA official said there was a proposal to award the ORR project on a toll-operate-transfer (TOT) basis to generate more revenue.
"Under the TOT model developed by National Highways Authority of India, the concessionaire will be given the right to collect toll while also taking up operations and maintenance. This helps generate funds, which can be used to develop new infrastructure,” he said. Nearly Rs 4,000 crore can be generated if the expressway is offered on a 20-year lease and Rs 6,000 crore if leased out for 30 years.
The official said Eagle Infra was given an extension while awaiting the government’s nod for TOT. He indicated that HMDA will soon float a tender to lease the 158-km-long ORR. Of the five sections, three – Gachibowli-Shamshabad (24.38 km), Patancheru-Shamirpet (38 km) and Shamirpet-Pedda Amberpet (33.3 km) – are to be operated and maintained by the private agency. “Once the TOT model comes, ORR will develop in a grand manner during the next 20 years to 30 years,” the official added....