The road transport and highways Ministry is looking to rebid or acquire incomplete national highway projects that were being undertaken by Infrastructure Leasing and Finance Corporation (IL&FS).
The debt ridden IL&FS has several projects that are at 70%-80% completion. Off-these the Z-Morh tunnel and Zojila pass tunnel project, being undertaken for the government of Jammu & Kashmir is of significance to the economic development of the region. As of July, works on these projects have halted.
These project may be rebid or acquired by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDC). The government is also looking to establish a panel to look into the acquisitions and also settle on-going arbitration cases between NHAI & IL&FS.
The government is committed to completing all the projects undertaken by IL&FS, within their respective timelines, Nitin Gadkari said. NHAI will pitch in to get projects moving and facilitate wherever possible, the minister added.
The government has also announced that it will fast-track payments pending to IL&FS and its subsidiaries as well as resolve on-going arbitration cases. A new six-member board to steer IL&FS out of crisis has been appointed. The current debt of the company stands at Rs 91,000 crores.
Z-Morh Tunnel –
This project is being developed to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar and Kargil. It is a 6.5 km road tunnel with high strategic importance to India. Along with the Zoji-la Tunnel Pass, Z-Morh will reduce travel time from Jammu to Leh to about 30 hours from the current 50 hours, boosting economic growth and tourism in the region.
Zoji-la Tunnel Pass –
This project involves the development of a 14.2 km long tunnel under the Zoji-la pass of the Himalayas. Construction on the pass commenced in May 2018 but has come to a halt now following the debt crisis that has hit IL&FS.