National Highway 21 (India)

Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) has won a contract from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to widen a section of National Highway-21 at a cost of Rs18bn ($366.7m).

Under the project an IL&FS unit, IL&FS Transportation Networks, will widen the existing 84.38km road to a four-lane highway between Kiratpur-Ner Chowk in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Work on the project involves restoring, upgrading and widening the existing carriageway, as well as rehabilitation and construction of the existing highway, new major and minor bridges, culverts, road intersections, drains and interchanges.

The project will be carried out under a design, build, finance, operate and tolling (DBFOT) basis. After construction the company will operate it for 28 years under a concession agreement, including three years of the construction period. The entire cost of the project will be Rs23.5bn ($475m), out of which the company will receive a grant of Rs1.3bn ($27m).

ILFS will spend Rs5.2bn ($106m) for land acquisition, rehabilitation, resettlement and pre-construction.

After completion, the span of highway will provide an improved communication link in Himachal Pradesh, decreasing the time and cost of travel along the route. It will pass through districts of Rupnagar, Bilaspur and Manali in the state, and is expected to generate employment opportunities for the local labourers.

National Highway-21 is an important link connecting the national capital and the tourist destination Manali in Himachal Pradesh, as well as being a major link to Leh and Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This project is expected to generate employment opportunities for local labourers.

The Kiratpur-Ner Chowk section is being implemented under National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) Phase-III, which will upgrade 12,109km of road, completing 110 projects.

Image: The 84.38km Kiratpur-Ner Chowk section, to be widened to four lanes, is part of National Highway-21 which connects New Delhi and tourist destination Manali. Photo: Abhijitsathe (talk).