Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation
The new 6-lane Expressway between Bombay and Pune has oft been cited as a glowing example
of a successful BOOT project. The project which was originally slated to cost 1200 Crores has
been rumoured to have swallowed Rs 1500 Crores to date. The bulk of this cost can be broken
down into; land acquisition, cost of rehabilitation, and of course the construction cost. The
construction cost alone is estimated to be about 80% of the total cost.
A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation
(MSRDC) was set up for the purpose of developing road infrastructure in Maharashtra. The
construction work for the new expressway was awarded by MSRDC to 6 major contracting firms
and they were granted a 30-year period to recover their investment and earn a profit.
The Expressway was partially commissioned (first 47 km) in 2000 and completely operational
(100 km) in early 2002. By the end of 2002, the expressway was serving traffic loads of
approximately 3000 cars and 1200 trucks in each direction. Toll charges at commissioning were
Rs 80 per car and Rs 180 per truck / bus or heavy vehicle for travel in a single direction. There
have been three fare hikes in rapid succession taking the one way toll for cars to Rs 90, 100 and
118 respectively. The charges for heavy vehicles were similarly hiked to 190, 200 and now stand
At each hike in the toll charges, there was a slow-down in the growth rate of the number of cars
and trucks using the Expressway. The BOOT operators are now cautious about further increases
in toll charges. Expressway users on the other hand have requested a discounted monthly plan
as also a return-toll ticket at reduced rates. The BOOT operators however are saying that they
are unlikely to recover their money at current rates and therefore definitely cannot afford any
discount scheme or "season-tickets" for Expressway users.
The MSRDC now has to sort out this problem and is required to provide guidelines for action. The
government knows that any action is going to set the precedent for future BOOT projects and is
also aware that large private players that might be in the contention for BOOT Infrastructure
projects are watching the Expressway situation extremely closely.