In a bid to fast-track the much-awaited four-laning of the Jalandhar-Barnala highway, the Centre has decided to execute the project under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode.
The Union ministry of road transport and highways approved the Rs 3,000-crore project on July 3 and issued a letter to the chief engineer (national highway) of the public works department (building and road) in Chandigarh.
Under the EPC mode, the Centre will fund the entire project which will attract more bidders and hence will not face shortage of funds.
The contractor, who would maintain the highway for five years after completing the construction, will collect toll tax during the same period.
The decision to adopt the EPC mode instead of conventional public private partnership (PPP) mode was taken since the Union ministry felt that projects under PPP do not get completed in time.
The ministry has also approved a 31-km bypass from Partappura to Haveli Restaurant on GT Road (Jalandhar) to relieve shopkeepers and house owners whose properties fall on the Jyoti Chowk-Wadala Chowk stretch.
Officials will chalk out the land alignment to carve out the bypass and will start a survey for suitable land soon, it has been learnt.
An official said the project got delayed since the Jalandhar forest division is yet to finalise locations for compensatory afforestation as the project involves felling of 22,700 trees on a large forest area. The Sangrur and Muktsar forest divisions have already submitted their reports with the authorities concerned, the official added.
In May this year, deputy commissioners (DCs) of Jalandhar, Moga and Barnala had given no-objection certificates (NOCs) to the project under the Forest Rights Act.
Moreover, 350 hectares land will be acquired for the 146-km road for which the public works department (buildings and road) has fixed deadline of August 5 for deciding the award amount for land acquisition.
The acquisition of land and compensation will be given by the end of August to the affected families whose land will be taken over.
Sources said the ministry has been monitoring the project on a regular basis and has set a target to start the project from October this year.
The four-laning is one of the most ambitious projects aimed at boosting the inter-state road connectivity between Punjab, Haryana and other parts of the northern region.