Maharashtra State infrastructure arm MSRDC received a cheque of Rs.6,500 crore from IRB on Thursday as advance payment for toll collection on the Mumbai-Pune expressway for the next 10.2 years. The revenue-sharing deal, first since the lockdown, is being seen as a morale-booster for Maharashtra’s efforts to boost the economy.
The handing over of the cheque took place in the presence of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, PWD minister Eknath Shinde, chief secretary Ajoy Mehta, additional chief secretary Manoj Saunik, MSRDC MD Radheshyam Mopalwar, IRB CMD Virendra Mhaiskar and senior bank officials. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray was present through video conferencing.
IRB won the toll operation and maintenance contract for the highway when bids opened in February. It took over operations on March 1. The expressway carries over 45,000 vehicles daily. and toll goes up to Rs.270. The bid required the firm to pay Rs.6,500 crore of the total Rs.8,262 crore before June 19 as a first instalment towards the concession contract.
The contract includes the new expressway as well as the old Mumbai-Pune highway taking total length of maintenance to 205.4 kms. IRB managed the same project for 15 years till their concession period ended in August last year.
This is India’s single largest concession-based toll operation, maintenance and transfer deal. Further payments of Rs.850 crore in the second and third year of the contract followed by Rs.62 crore in the fourth year will have to be made. IRB concluded the deal with help from State Bank of India and Union Bank of India, besides raising equity of Rs.1,438 crore. Mhaiskar of IRB said, “Achieving financial closure… in these difficult times was a massive ordeal...”