New Delhi: Fed up with increasing demands of the states for more funds to maintain national highways, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to handover this responsibility to private companies. However, this step is not going to provide any respite to the commuters who will have to pay the toll tax even after 20 years of the road’s construction.

In the next financial year, the NHAI will transfer 4,000 kilometres of national highways built in 1990 or which have completed their conception period of 20 years, into the private hands for further maintenance.

The Road Transport and Highway Ministry had written to the NHAI for suggestions to tackle the increasing demand of funds from Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand for the maintenance of roads.

NHAI member (Finance) Jagdip Narayan Singh said, “The work would be handed over to the private companies for 4 to 9 years through auction. Till now, 75 companies like Reliance Construction Infra Project, IRB Infrastructure Developers Limited, Oriental Structural, Gayatri Project and HDPL have shown their interests.”

The NHAI will invite tenders once in a year from the companies which will be responsible for the maintenance of roads and recover the investment cost through toll tax.

The company will also be required to pay a part of its income to the NHAI to be revised at the rate of ten percent annually.

The logic behind such a move is that the roads will remain in good condition as the private companies will be eager to charge toll tax from the commuters to fulfill their investment cost.

Although commuters have to pay the toll tax, there is a possibility that the charges may be reduced later.