The Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered that if concessionaire of the 291 kms six laning project of the Panipat-Jalandhar highway, Soma Isolex Rollways, fails to complete entire project before March next year it would be liable to pay a fine of Rs 50 crores and its director would also bear a penalty of Rs 5 crores in his personal capacity.
The division bench comprising chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Mahesh Grover was hearing a bunch of petitions on the subject on Thursday.
The court also directed Punjab and Haryana governments to adhere to their commitments of clearing all obstacles in completion of the project within the timeframe else chief secretaries of both the states would be held responsible for the delay.
As per the undertaking given by director of the concessionaire before the court, Haryana section of the project was expected to be completed by December this year and Punjab section by March next year.
However, during the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, the bench stated that in today’s world undertakings do not work, thus when the concessionaire would have the fear of fine, it would work day and night to adhere to the deadline.
The bench after hearing arguments in the case and after going through the affidavits said that there were enough evidences that the concessionaire would further seek the time extension.
Addressing the problems raised by concessionaire, the bench also directed the union ministry of defence to grant permission for transfer of Army’s land for the project in Jalandhar within a month, as committed. Directions were also issued to the concessionaire to submit the detailed plan of removing of religious structures and high tension wires coming in the way of the project to the Punjab government so that the desired action could be taken.
Haryana government also assured the court that the process for removal trees for aligning the highway and that of removal of the statue of Tau Devi Lal in Karnal would be completed in month.
The bench stated that early completion of the project was paramount to public interest in free movement of traffic and safety measure.
The signal free six laning project of 291 kms national highway from Panipat to Jalandhar was awarded to the concessionaire Soma Isolex Rollways in May 2009 which was to be completed within a period of 30 months with a cost of more than 2,500 crores. Around 120 flyovers, 20 major bridges and 116 minor bridges and several two-wheeler and pedestrian crossings were planned on the entire stretch. Deadlines for completion of the project had been extended many times.