New Delhi: The long drawn impasse between the concessionaire, lender and road authority over the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is likely to come to an end. Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL), the concessionaire has agreed to exit the project said a senior National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) official who requested anonymity.

“They (DGSCL and lenders) have given a letter earlier this week. DGSCL is willing to exit now without any conditions, they had several conditions earlier. Hopefully, the issue will come to an end. Let’s say there is a likelihood of it," said the official.

The development is good news both for the project lenders and the daily commuters.

The Infrastructure Development Finance Co. Ltd (IDFC)-led consortium faces the risk of losing the right to recover 1,400 crore of the 1,600 crore loan it had extended to DGSCL if NHAI wins the on-going court case against DGSCL. If the negotiations succeed then the lenders will get the right to substitute DGSCL in the project.

“Serious efforts are being made to arrive at an out-of-court settlement expeditiously respectful of the interest and rights of all concerned stakeholders," said IDFC chairman Rajiv Lall.

While IDFC’s exposure to the project is around 500 crore, the consortium includes lenders such as the Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.

Another person familiar with the matter, who also requested anonymity, confirmed that negotiations “were progressing in the positive direction". The person added, “Senior lenders want the right to substitute a delinquent concessionaire and takeover the management of the asset."

A spokesperson for DGSCL said that the company would not like to comment at this stage.

The matter, if resolved, will mean respite for daily commuters of the expressway as NHAI will do away with one of the two toll plazas on the stretch.

The tussle between the DGSCL and NHAI has been going on since 2012 when NHAI first served a termination notice to the concessionaire. The subsequent memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between DGSCL, IDFC-led consortium and NHAI as per the court order also failed to resolve the matter. NHAI served a fresh termination notice to DGSCL in 2013 and the case is still going on in the Delhi high court.

The lenders also approached the Prime Minister’s Office for intervention to resolve the matter. Road ministry, however, told the PMO that it did not recognize the IDFC-led consortium as bona fide lenders to the project, Mint reported on 8 January.

NHAI had also filed a criminal complaint with the police against DGSCL for under-reporting toll collections.

The settlement could see the road authority withdraw all court cases and complaints against the concessionaire.

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