NHAI lost Rs 133cr revenue in two TN toll booths
While handing over 15km-long road sections developed by the NHAI at its own cost to concessionaires for toll, the pact signed between NHAI and contractors was silent on how the revenue must be shared
CHENNAI: In yet another case of alleged nexus between the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and road building companies, the CAG has found that NHAI had incurred a revenue loss of Rs 133.36 crore in user fee collection at Omalur and Palayam toll plazas between June 2010 and March 2021 due to issues in sharing revenue.
The audit agency said the Salem bypass (7.85 km) on Thumbipadi-Namakkal NH and Thoppur-Thoppurghat section (7.4 km) on Krishnagiri-Thumbipadi NH were converted into four-lane roads by the NHAI using its own funds. But when handing over these stretches to private concessionaires for toll collection, the revenue-sharing agreement was silent on how the revenue must be shared between the authority and the private entities for the 15 km-long road sections developed by the NHAI with its own funds.
Responding to the allegation, the NHAI has denied the non-inclusion of the revenue-sharing clause and claimed that concessionaires had paid Rs 5.20 crore per km for the 7.4 km on Krishnagiri-Thumbipadi NH and Rs 2.56 crore per km for the 7.85km Thumbipadi-to-Namakkal stretch at the time of handing over the roads. The CAG, however, said the NHAI’s response was ‘untenable’ as the concessionaires have not paid proportional revenue for the additional NH parcels given to them.
The average yearly toll collection from Palayam booth, which covers 86km of four-lane road from Krishnagiri to Thumbipadi NH, was Rs 15.86 crore per km. Similarly, Omalur toll, which collects fee from vehicles that run from Thumbipadi to Namakkal (68.62 km), registered an average earning of Rs 9.5 crore per km between 2010 and 2021.
NHAI lost Rs 73.88 cr at Palayam toll gate alone: CAG
“Thus, by not including the four-laned roads under revenue-sharing provisions, the NHAI had incurred a loss of Rs 73.88 crore at the Palayam toll gate and Rs 54.48 crore at the Omalur toll gate between 2010 and 2021,” the CAG said.
In January 2006, the NHAI entered into a concession agreement with L&T Krishnagiri Thoppur Toll Road Private Limited for the four-laning of the Krishnagiri-Thoppur (62km) road in the Krishnagiri to Thumbipadi stretch (86 km). The 7.4km from Thoppur to Thoppurghat and 16.6km from Thoppurghat to Thumbipadi NH were built by the NHAI.
While handing over the roads to the concessionaire in 2009, the NHAI entered into a revenue-sharing agreement for the 16.6 km Thoppurghat to Thumbipadi NH, for which 83.86% of the yearly earnings were received. However, a similar provision was not included for the 7.4km Thoppur-Thoppurghat section.
Similarly, in February 2006, NHAI signed a contract with MVR Infrastructure and Tollways Private Limited for the four-laning of Salem bypass to Namakkal (41.5 km) section of the Thumbipadi to Namakkal stretch (68.625 km).
Later, in 2010, the NHAI handed over Thumbipadi to Salem (19.2 km) and Salem bypass (7.85 km) four-lane roads for operation and maintenance. However, only the Thumbipadi-Salem section was included in the revenue-sharing agreement, and the Salem bypass was excluded from it, the CAG pointed out. NHAI officials could not be reached for comments.
Rs 133.36 crore
NHAI has incurred a revenue loss of Rs 133.36 crore from user fees at Krishnagiri and Palayam tolls plazas
Govt body builds roads but private firms collect toll
While handing over 15km-long road sections developed by the NHAI at its own cost to concessionaires for toll collection, the pact signed between NHAI and contractors was silent on how the revenue must be shared