In what could be a relief to commuters braving massive traffic snarls on the 28-km Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) board on Wednesday evening approved a proposal to transfer 74 per cent equity in the expressway project to infrastructure finance company Infrastructure Development Finance Corp (IDFC) from Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL), the company that built and operates the project.
IDFC was one of the lead lenders for the project. The NHAI confirmed that the board has cleared the proposal for a 74-per cent takeover by IDFC, while DGSCL would retain 24.8 per cent till a further decision is taken; and the rest 1.2 per cent stay with the Jaypee group.
Under the deal, IDFC will pay Re1 for all the shares of the concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, and take over the entire Rs1,600 crore debt of the company and will get the rights to collect toll until 2023 to recoup the funds.
Over the last year, DGSCL had failed to operate and maintain one of the busiest expressways in the country to the desired standards. The expressway had been in news for bad traffic management at the 32-lane toll plaza causing long waiting hours for consumers.
The NHAI had last year even terminated DGSCL's contract to operate the expressway after which the latter approached the court.
With the takeover by IDFC, the lot of commuters is expected to improve, as the company has announced it will outsource the operations and maintenance of the highway.
Sanjay Grewal, group head, IDFC, while confirming the board's decision, said, ''We decided to take over the project as we want to ensure smooth traffic flow and better road conditions.''