NHAI had in June invited bids for the third round of toll-operate-transfer (TOT) auctions for a total of 500 kilometres of road stretches, looking to raise a minimum of Rs 4,995 crore. The bids were to be submitted by September 11, which was extended to September 30.
The government is confident of attracting a better response from investors this time, even though the second round of auctions failed to draw investors, officials said.
“We are sure of gathering massive response in this round,” said another government official who did not wish to be identified. “The delay is not from the government’s end. It is because investors are asking for more time,” the person said.
The projects in the third bundle of TOT auctions are spread across Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The government introduced the TOT model in 2016 to monetise publicly funded highways. Under the programme, investors make a one-time lump sum payment in return for long-term toll collection rights.
The highways ministry plans to aggressively monetise its assets under the TOT mode.
ET had reported on September 12 that leading infrastructure investors such as Cube Highways, Macquarie Group, IRB Infrastructure, and L&T had sought more time for evaluating the highways ministry’s third bundle of TOT projects.