With a view to reducing the volume of traffic and number of accidents on the Ropar-Nawanshahr-Phagwara road, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is mulling over construction of two bypasses in Nawanshahr and Banga towns as part of the four-laning project of the 80-km stretch. NHAI officials said the proposal was considered after a traffic survey on the road.
In January last year, the Nawanshahr administration had proposed to construct a bypass starting from Langoya to Mahalo village for which land is also available.
For the proposed Banga bypass, a survey will be conducted and a report will be prepared about the requirement of land. The four-laning project has been in the deep freeze for five years due to shortage of funds with the state government. Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had called it his dream project. In April last year, the stretch was handed over to the NHAI after a meeting between deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari held in New Delhi.
The NHAI has proposed that the project will be built under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode for its time-bound completion. Under the EPC mode, the Centre will fund the entire project and it is likely to attract more bidders, officials said. The contractor will in turn maintain the highway for five years after completion of the project.
For the first five years, tolling of the highway would be with him and he will be able to decide rates with NHAI.
The decision to opt for the EPC mode instead of public private partnership (PPP) mode was taken by the ministry of road transport and highways maintaining that projects under the latter are not completed in time. The proposed decision of constructing bypasses at Nawanshahr and Banga town has also relieved about 800 shopkeepers who were against the construction of elevated roads in the two townships.
In 2009, the state government had announced this project calling it the ‘lifeline of Doaba region’. The project was scheduled to commence at many occasions but the proposal kept gathering dust in government offices.
The public works department (PWD) had also approached the Planning Commission in February this year seeking financial help under the Viability Gap Funding Scheme to start the project as no one responded to tenders it floated.