The Modi-government's next flagship infrastructure project, Delhi-Mumbai expressway, has taken the centre stage at National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) with officials gearing up to award the entire stretch by March 2019.
“Delhi-Mumbai expressway is the next flagship project for the government… We should be able to start the project in this financial year,” a senior official from NHAI told Moneycontrol.
The expressway will pass through underdeveloped cities like Mewat, Ratlam and Dahod and will reduce travel time between the two metro cities by half. Union ministry for road transport and highways, early this year, decided to construct the e’way as greenfield. The new alignment helped government save approximately Rs 16,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore.
The Rs one lakh crore expressway will pass through states like Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, reducing distance from 1,450 kilometer to 1,250 km. At present, it takes around 24 hours to travel from the national capital to the financial capital via National Highway (NH) 8.
Also read: Land acquisition cost for new Delhi-Mumbai expressway to be lower by Rs 20,000 cr: Nitin Gadkari
Union minister, Nitin Gadkari, has said that work on about 40 locations will start simultaneously to expedite the work.
“This will be the project which will see fastest on-ground result,” said the official.
According to another official, the process of land acquisition in the selected states is nearly done and all the tenders should be awarded by March 2019.
“Land acquisition process is in good shape… We have already done 3A portion in Haryana… The same will be complete for Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by July 31… Hopefully for Gujarat as well,” he said.
As per section 3A of National Highways Act, 1956 of NHAI, Central government has to notify its intention to acquire land for public purpose, which includes constructing, maintaining and expansion of highways. It has to be approved by affected parties, declining objection, to take the process forward.
NHAI plans to start the work on 40-50 locations together to take the project forward as one, the official said.
“We are planning that… The idea is to start the project as a whole and award the entire stretch in one go so that the project gets completed simultaneously,” the official added.
NHAI expects to complete the construction in two years’ time after final award, thus setting a deadline of financial year 2021-22.