HCC Concessions starts toll operations for Farakka Raiganj Highway
HCC Concessions Ltd commenced commercial operations of its Rs.1,720 crore Farakka Raiganj Highways Ltd (FRHL) in Bengal. FRHL covers the busiest section of NH-34 over 100 km and passes through major towns such as Farakka, Kaliachawk, Malda, and Gajol, besides being the only link over the river Ganges in the region. The project, which has a concession period of 30 years, forms an integral part of HCC’s Rs.4,300 crore development of NH-34 across three contiguous stretches over 256 km between Baharampore and Dalkhola (the first leg between Baharampore to Farakka has been operational since May 2014 with a current daily collection of approximately Rs.40 lakhs).
On the occasion, Arjun Dhawan, Chairman of the Board, HCC Concessions said, “HCC’s development of NH-34 is among the largest PPP highway undertakings in the country. NH-34 is the backbone of the transport system in Bengal, which is the fourth most populous state in India and home to 90 million citizens. The completion of this mega project will have a multiplier effect on GDP growth as industrial investment and consumption is spurred due to swifter access and better logistics across the State. HCC is dedicated to the Nation’s service and we are proud of our rich history in completing such projects of national importance.”
The development of FRHL is supported by a consortium of 9 lenders and the project has a concession period of 30 years. The construction of FRHL has involved over 130 structures including 9 Major Bridges, 22 Minor Bridges, 5 Underpasses and 2 Toll Plazas, with material coordination alongside NHAI and numerous State agencies. HCC Operations & Maintenance Ltd is the designated O&M contractor for the highway. Travel time for commuters in FRHL has been reduced materially, by approximately 5-6 hours during peak hours, while overall travel time between Kolkata and North Bengal will be cut by over half due to the complete four laning of NH-34.
Further details about FRHL and NH-34
NH-34 provides north-south connectivity between the capital region / ports of Kolkata & Haldia to the north eastern states of India. The west side of the highway borders Bihar and Jharkhand and the eastern side runs parallel to the Bangladesh border, where considerable import and export of goods occurs. NH-34 is the only viable route for commercial traffic over major rivers such as Bhagirathi, Ganga, Mahananda and Nagri in the region. Furthermore, it forms part of the critical route to neighbouring Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. The entire border region of West Bengal and Jharkhand is very rich in mining, while crushing is done at major towns like Pakur, Rampurhat and Nalhatti. Stone and related aggregates are supplied to the industrial towns of Baharampore, Kolkata, Dhanbad, Asansol, Durgapur, Jamshedpur in the south and Farakka, Malda, Dalkhola, Bangladesh and New Jalpaiguri in the north. The land-locked seven sister States in the North East are heavily dependent on these nearby towns for industrial goods. Rivers are sand rich near Baharampore and Sainthia and this high quality sand caters to NH-34’s influence area. Bricks from Baharampore region are also transported to the Malda and Siliguri region. Apart from the aforementioned goods, other major commodities like agricultural produce, construction items, industrial goods, petroleum products, forest items, automobile and fishery products are supplied via NH-34.