Prob­lems re­lated to re­moval of high ten­sion wires and land ac­qui­si­tion have al­most been sorted out, pav­ing the way for widen­ing of NH 24

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Van­dana Ram­nani

Na­tional High­way 24 is a life­line for peo­ple living i n Indi­ra­pu­ram, Noida Sec­tor 62 and Cross­ings Repub­lik as it links Indi­ra­pu­ram to Noida and en­sures easy con­nec­tiv­ity to Delhi.

The stretch run­ning along Indi­ra­pu­ram, how­ever, is a traf­fic bot­tle­neck of sorts be­cause of its nar­row­ness. Fre­quent jams have made it all the more nec­es­sary to en­sure that work on the high­way, also known as the Delhi-Meerut Ex­press­way, be­gins soon.

Though Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had launched a ₹ 7,566 crore pro­ject to widen the ex­press­way in De­cem­ber 2015, pre­vi­ous de­lays of about six years have put enor­mous pres­sures on the au­thor­i­ties to be­gin work soon.

Raghav Chan­dra, chair­man, Na­tional High­way Author­ity of In­dia (NHAI), re­veals that two pack­ages for widen­ing work have al­ready been awarded. “The pro­ject is di­vided into four pack­ages. Pack­age-1 from the Niza­mud­din Bridge to the UP bor­der, of 8 km, has al­ready been awarded and Wel­spun, a com­pany from Gu­jarat, has won the bid.”

The biggest chal­lenge Wel­spun (the con­ces­sion­aire) faced was re­moval of high ten­sion elec­tric­ity lines in the area, which the com­pany’s bankers had in­sisted should be re­moved by NHAI to en­able work to be­gin. Chan­dra said it was some­thing the con- Length: crore Awarded ces­sion­aire had to do as nu­mer­ous colonies would be af­fected by the re­moval of the elec­tric­ity con­nec­tions. It should be a work in progress. The lines can be re­moved as work pro­gresses. Four km out of 8km should be ab­so­lutely free for work to start, he says.

NHAI has man­aged to “bol­ster the con­fi­dence level of Wel­spun of­fi­cials after al­most 20 rounds of meet­ings with their CEO for road projects and they have de­posited their per­for­mance guar­an­tee, which is 5% of the pro­ject cost. Mo­bil­i­sa­tion of funds had started and the com­pany is likely to tie up their fi­nan­cial pack­age and move for­ward and start work “as they were well within their time.” The six-month agree­ment signed in Jan­uary left Wel­spun with two months to tie up their fi­nan­cial km Cost:₹ pack­age,” Chan­dra says.

Pack­age two of the widen­ing pro­ject be­tween the Delhi bor­der to Dasna is still pend­ing with the Cab­i­net for ap­proval.

The third pack­age, from Dasna to Hapur, had been awarded to a com­pany called Apco Chetak (Apco is based in MP and Chetak in Ra­jasthan).

Apco Chetak has ini­ti­ated mo­bil­i­sa­tion (ma­chin­ery) and a site camp has been set up. They are on the job.

The green­field pack­age from Dasna to Meerut re­quires land ac­qui­si­tion and work is in progress. “As soon as we get 80% of the land, we will start bid­ding it out,” Chan­dra ex­plains.

As for com­ple­tion, the pro­ject will take about three years to build. “It’s likely to be com­pleted by the end of 2018,” he says.

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