Used to travelling on the bumpy state highways with perennial jams and accidents? Then sheer relief will be your first reaction when you hit the Noida-Agra Yamuna Expressway.
An HT team decided to give you a first-hand account of the expressway. And as no toll will be charged till August 15, a massive rush of commuters at the Zero Mile didn't surprise us much.
The Yamuna Expressway does have great features and facilities such as surveillance cameras, beside other safety and security measures in place. And the ride was excellent.
But there are shortcomings, too. There are no fuel stations or vehicle service stations on the entire 165km stretch.
Joint managing director of Jaypee Infratech, Sameer Gaur, said, "Use our SOS booths. We will get you fuel but don't expect us to fill your tank."But is this 'solution' enough?
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) feels commuters must get these basic facilities. "Otherwise, they won't opt for the expressway," said NHAI general manager HN Mallick. Paying toll should translate into street lights, medical aid, public conveyance and cafeteria. But they are available only at the three plazas.
About 10km from the Zero Mile, the Buddh International Circuit looked majestic. But after a drive of nearly 35 km, the stretch got secluded and we felt the unrest. Residents of Jewar comprising Bhatta-Parsaul looked protesting as they won't be able to use the toll road for which they lost their land and some lives, too. The under-construction interchange was still not complete.
After a drive of about 50km, we got into another trouble-torn territory of Tappal where land acquisition saw clashes in which three farmers and policeman were killed in 2010. Villagers looked anxiously with a police party cordoning off the fences.
The drive into Mathura areas posed a peculiar threat - Nil Gai. But the fencing there was not high enough. Nor were there enough service lanes. Several underpasses were water-logged.
From Mathura to Agra, the drive was absolutely fine. But the real problems began once we reached Agra as there was no snarl-free last-mile connectivity from the expressway to the areas where monuments are located.