In an exclusive chat with HT, Satish Chandra, member (finance), National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), said they will not oppose acquisition of the Kherki Daula toll plaza by the Haryana government if concessionaire MCEPL is compensated. He also said the highways authority has taken the responsibility to decongest Delhi and other NCR towns.
The Kherki Daula toll plaza is a major bottleneck on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and it is learnt that the Haryana government has intentions to either acquire or shift it. What is the stand of the NHAI on this?
The NHAI is not opposed to either acquisition or takeover of the Kherki Daula toll plaza if the Haryana government is ready to bear the cost and compensate the concessionaire. Acquisition of toll plaza by the government will be a bilateral arrangement with the concessionaire (MCEPL) and if the deal works out, the highways authority will not oppose it. The concessionaire has an agreement to collect toll on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway till 2023 and it also has to maintain the road. Our only contention is that if such a deal takes place, someone will have to take the responsibility of maintaining the road. If the Haryana government decides to acquire the highway, it will have to assure the NHAI about the upkeep of the road.
Has the government received any proposal for acquisition of Kherki Daula toll plaza?
We have not received any proposal from the state government regarding the toll plaza.
What steps are the NHAI taking to decongest the expressway, particularly the Kherki Daula toll plaza and connected areas?
The NHAI has taken the responsibility of de-congesting the entire Delhi and NCR, with a focus on Gurgaon. Surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari has said that the NHAI will build roads, provided the respective state governments allot land.
What are the projects in the pipeline to ease commuting on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway?
Some of such projects are underpasses at Rajiv Chowk, Signature Tower and Iffco Chowk on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. Tenders have been called for these projects and they will be opened on April 19. But we are still waiting for the consent of the Haryana government that it will bear 25% of the cost. Also, work on a road from Ambience Mall to MG Road and an alternate road from Gurgaon to Manesar will start as soon as the Haryana government allots land.
We have been hearing about plans to start pod taxis from Dhaula Kuan to Gurgaon. Is this project realistic?
The project is certainly on and is called the public personal rapid transport system. It will start from Dhaula Kuan and reach Gurgaon, covering 13.5 km. A project has been prepared and the project is expected to cost around Rs 850 crore.