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Gadkari does an aerial survey of eastern peripheral road as work picks up

Megha Manchanda / New Delhi 29 Apr 17 | 04:06 AM

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari interacting with media regarding Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) in Baghpat

The 135-km Eastern Peripheral Expressway project to connect Kundli to the north of Delhi on National Highway-1 with Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, with the idea to unclog traffic in and bound for the national capital, is about half-done, say ground engineers here.

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Completion, they add, is six to eight months away. Once done, the hope is that it would reduce Delhi-bound traffic congestion by half. Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, who arrived here (60 km on the other side of Delhi) for a site visit, said he’d like it done by August 15 but agrees this might not happen.

The aim is signal-free connectivity between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar (Greater Noida) and Palwal. The minister has taken interest in the project since he assumed charge in May 2014. An aerial survey from here to the Greater Noida part reveals the work is being done in patches. The Greater Noida section, for instance, had a number of villagers raising black flags during the site visit.

Gadkari claims it is the country’s first infrastructure project where the land acquisition cost is higher than the cost of project work, Rs 5,900 crore versus Rs 4,418 crore, respectively. He would not elaborate on when the land compensation payment would be disbursed, beyond saying it would be in two to three months.

The six-package project is being implemented by Sadbhav Engineering, Jaiprakash Associates, Ashoka Buildcon, Oriental Structure and Gayatri Projects. It is part of a 271-km ring road being constructed around Delhi, to decongest the metropolis. The other half of the project, the Western Peripheral Expressway, would connect Kundli to Palwal via Manesar in Haryana.

In 2016, the Delhi government had moved a plea in the Supreme Court to issue a directive for completion of the two expressways in a time-bound manner. It had argued that 10 years after committing to it, Delhi was still bearing the brunt of continued movement of traffic and pollution.

Gadkari told journalists 12 more expressways would come up in the country. These high-speed roads would include Delhi to Katra (Jammu & Kashmir) via Ludhiana and Amritsar in Punjab, Mumbai-Vadodara, Bengaluru-Chennai, Delhi-Jaipur, Delhi-Meerut and Kanpur-Lucknow.   

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