The Bharatmala network designed on the shortest possible route connecting the origin and destination, though a well thought through and definitely a step in the right direction, is bound to impact the existing network by directly competing with a few stretches including some of the existing BOT (Toll) road projects. ICRA assessed the impact of the proposed 44 economic corridors (EC) under the Bharatmala Pariyojana on the existing road network in terms of risk of traffic diversion, which could in turn have an impact on the debt servicing ability of some of the BOT (Toll) and OMT projects. An estimated 25 NH-Toll projects involving Rs. 19,435 crore of debt would be at risk as a result of new economic corridors under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
Out of the 44 economic corridors, about 21 ECs would partially or fully affect the existing alignments while the remaining 23 corridors involve up-gradation of existing alignment thus will not result in any deviation from existing alignments. Among the 21 corridors that affect the existing network, eight have a totally different route (shortest route between origin and destination) as against the existing route while the remaining 13 ECs have some deviations from the existing alignment. Overall, as per ICRA’s analysis, there are 24 BOT (Toll) and 1 OMT road projects whose traffic could get affected due to the proposed ECs.
According to Shubham Jain, Vice-President & Sector Head, Corporate Ratings, ICRA, “The risk of traffic diversion is assessed based on the traffic mix, long distance traffic movement and key feeder routes. The traffic diversion risk for about 72 per cent of the projects is low, while 16% of the projects have a moderate risk and the remaining 12% of the projects have high risk of leakage in traffic with the availability of an alternate route.”