The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the concessionaire, Soma Isolex Rollways, to complete the six-laning of Panipat-Jalandhar highway before March next year else it would be liable to pay a fine of Rs 50 crore and its director would also bear a penalty of Rs 5 crores.
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 the Punjab and Haryana governments to adhere to their commitments of clearing all obstacles in the 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 the director of the concessionaire before the court, the Haryana section of the project was to be completed by December this year, and the Punjab section by March next year.
However, during the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, the bench stated, "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 there was enough evidence to suggest the concessionaire would further seek more time.
Addressing the problems raised by the concessionaire, the bench directed the union ministry of defence to grant permission for transferring Army's land for the project in Jalandhar within a month, as committed.
The directions were also issued to the concessionaire to submit the detailed plan to the Punjab government regarding the removal of religious structures and high-tension wires obstructing the path of site.
The Haryana government assured the court that the process for felling trees for aligning the highway and that of removal of the statue of Tau Devi Lal in Karnal would be completed in a month.
The bench stated that early completion of the project was paramount to public interest in free movement of traffic and safety measure.