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CCEA approves broadening of Delhi-Meerut Expressway
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved broadening of Delhi-Meerut Expressway at an investment of around Rs1,983.51 crore.

The broadening of the 19km long stretch to six-eight lanes on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, starting at Ghazipur and running up to Dasna, involves land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The project is expected to reduce the time and cost of travel in the otherwise heavily congested stretch between Delhi and Meerut.

The National Democratic Alliance government is targeting to construct 41km of highways every day. The government’s focus is on improving the country’s transportation architecture and Rs2.18 trillion has been earmarked for roads and railways for financial year 2016-17.

“This work will be under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-VI. The approval is in hybrid annuity model,” the government said in a statement.

Under the model, risks are divided between the developer and the government wherein it’s the private partner who bears the construction and maintenance risks. In return, the project financing risk is shared between the government and the road developer in a ratio of 40:60. Also, the developer is protected from any revenue or inflation risk.

“The development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socioeconomic condition of the concerned regions of the state (Uttar Pradesh),” added the statement.

In another development, the Union Cabinet was informed of a renewable energy cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The general framework agreement (GFA) was signed in New Delhi on 11 February.

“The GFA will provide opportunity for exploring potential renewable energy projects for investments, continue cooperating in the International Solar Alliance, exploring avenues of cooperation in research and development in renewables, developing knowledge-sharing mechanisms through which to build upon the human capital of the parties, exploring establishing a joint fund between the parties to facilitate investment,” the government said in another statement.

India has set a target of adding 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2022 out of which the largest chunk will come from solar project, with 60GW from wind energy, 10GW from biomass and 5GW from small hydro projects. It has also taken the lead in championing the cause of solar power, with an International Solar Alliance of 121 prospective member countries including the US, France, Japan and China to be headquartered in India.

In another decision, the Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding to be inked between the regulators—Securities and Exchange Board of India and Financial Services Regulatory Authority, Abu Dhabi—for cooperation and technical assistance.

Aimed at the development of securities markets in the two countries, the agreement will also help in information sharing when countries are exploring means of joint supervision in the backdrop of the Panama Papers expose.

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