Covid-19: Relief measures extension likely for road sector

Economy


NEW DELHI: The government is “actively” considering extending Covid-19 relief measures for the road sector by another six months. Relief measures, announced for concessionaires in July, are due to end on September 30.

A ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) official told ET that the measures likely to be extended include monthly payment for work done and extension of the contract period.

“We are quite positive, and quite actively considering (extension of measures),” the official said.

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“We will do whatever is required to maintain the pace of construction,” the official said, adding that consultation with the finance ministry on some issues is pending.

MoRTH will soon initiate consultations with the finance ministry on the issue and a call would be taken shortly.

The industry has sought extension of the relief measures by another six months. Highway operators have also sought compensation on loss of toll income due to the lockdown.

While a final decision on the matter is yet to be taken, another official said that “there is a view that the relief should be extended till March 2021”.

The National Highway Builders Federation (NHBF), which represents companies such as L&T, Afcons, GMR Highways, NCC, Sadbhav Engineering, Reliance Infrastructure, Tata Realty and Infrastructure and IRB Infrastructure, has represented to the government seeking an extension of the measures. Aspokesperson of NHBF said that the industry body has submitted a list of 70-80 issue to the ministry, some of which are also procedural matters.

“The extension of contract period was only for three months. We want release of monthly payments without keeping in mind the milestones to be achieved,” said PC Grover, director general of NHBF.

Grover said that the industry is working with only half the resources and labour.

“We are not able to pay back financial institutions from where we have taken loans,” he added.

NHBF has also asked for compensation on loss of toll income during the time toll operations were shut.



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