Sunday, 20 March 2016

Making of a NPA ?



A news report tells about NHA ( National Highway Authority ) planning a 13 Km long pod-based Personal Rapid Transit ( PRT ) network in Gurgaon , at a cost of Rs 850 Crores , which will be Built / Owned / Operated ( BOT ) , by a private contractor for a period of 25 years , during which , it will recover the cost ( and , make some profit ? )


SALIENT  FEATURES :


*  Pods will carry 5 passengers who will be picked up at Docking Stations

*  A group can also " hire " an entire pod to take to desired destination ( 16 in all )

*  Pods will be suspended from overhead rails, and run on a guide way at close intervals

*  Pods are " automated " ( just touch destination icon on a screen ? )


MY  TAKE :

*  Dozens of Highways built under BOT system remain un-built or languish for want of sufficient paying traffic , resulting in contractors having suffered huge losses and now , NDA government trying to salvage these . Contractors are desperately trying to get out of their legal commitments

*  With no contractor coming forward for new projects , BOT system is nearly ditched and Govt has decided that it will finance future road projects, on its own

*  Contractors are unable to repay to banks , Rs 40,000 Crores worth loans ( I presume , in
case of PRT as well , private contractor will need a bank loan )

*  As to the ticket-price to be charged , a dispute has been going on ( now pending in Court ) , between Govt of Maharashtra and Reliance , in case of Mumbai Metro , for 2 years

*  Trans Harbor Link project ( in Mumbai ) was tendered and scrapped twice on the question of " Projected Traffic " and " Projected Revenue " and " Viability Gap Funding " , delaying the project by 10 years and consequent cost-escalation of 200 %  !

*  Has PRT compared  its " Ticket Price per Km " with ,

    *  Private and State owned buses plying on Delhi / Gurgaon roads  ?

    *  Delhi Metro ?

    *  Private taxis and auto-rickshaws ?

    *  Uber / Ola  ?


*   PRT can run only on a FIXED GUIDE WAY , and to DEFINED Destinations  only , whereas private taxis can take a passenger ANYWHERE


This means , PRT cannot compete with the destination FLEXIBILITY of taxis !

That means , its pricing / timings would need to be better than Delhi Metro !


*  Is it not highly " probable " that , much before PRT starts ( 2 years , at least ? ), private air-conditioned , Motorbike Taxis will arrive in Delhi , making PRT a " Non Starter " ?


I wonder if those bankers lending loan to PRT builder will search for answers to the above mentioned issues in DPR

Or , as is the current practice , they will write-off Rs 850 cr as NPA , when time comes  !

I hope NDA government / RBI spend more time / effort / energy to lay down " loan approval criteria " which will prevent future NPAs , than on cleaning up the current NPAs !

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hemenparekh.in / blogs

21  March  2016

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