Delayed by more than five years, the work on the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway is set to resume from April.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday said that the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) which is the executing agency for project, on Saturday allotted the work for the completion of 53-km Manesar-Palwal section on item rate mode and work on this section will resume within a month and completed in less than a year.
The work for the completion of the Manesar Palwal section has been allotted to Kundu Constructions.
Bids for the completion of the remaining 83-kilometre Kundli-Manesar stretch were opened on Saturday evening and will close on May 26. Khattar said that hopefully the work on the Kundli-Manesar stretch will take off in three months. He said that the 136-km high-speed expressway will now have six lanes instead of the four planned earlier.
The state government in pursuance of Supreme Court order of January 30 had decided to terminate the contract with the existing concessionaire, KMP Expressways Ltd -- a consortium headed by DS Constructions -- and appoint a new concessionaire.
The apex court in its order had said that the new concessionaire should commence the work within a month thereafter. "For no reason would we extend the time limit that we have fixed today (January 30)," said the SC which is monitoring the progress of the expressway.
The SC also said its order will not come in the way of the previous concessionaire if they wanted to agitate their or Haryana government's claims before the arbitrator. "All questions are left open to be agitated before the arbitrator," the apex court said.
Khattar said to ensure time-bound completion of the delayed expressway, the state government decided to invite bids for the left over work of the project on build operate and transfer (BOT) basis for the entire project and item rate mode for Manesar-Palwal section simultaneously.
While no bids were received on the BOT basis, the HSIIDC received three bids for the Manesar-Palwal section on item rate mode.
Khattar said that with the completion of the much delayed project, northern Haryana will have high-speed connectivity with the southern part and the national capital will also be decongested.
The project, which was scheduled to become operational in July 2009, is as of now 68% complete, primarily due to holdups caused by the existing concessionaire.
Haryana officials said KMP Expressways repeatedly failed to meet the extended deadlines for completing the project on one pretext or another. Following delays and the concessionaire's inability to keep up the flow of funds, IDBI bank, which is the lead banker for the project, had served the company with a substitution notice.
This implied that the lenders had decided to step in for substitution of the concessionaire on account of its flagrant and continued defaults in financial and other obligations.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana had earlier disapproved the amount of Rs 1300 crore fixed by the previous Congress regime as payment for terminating the concession agreement with the existing concessionaire for the delayed project.
The new government said the termination payment needs to be revisited in light of three different evaluations done.
Project length: 136 kilometres
Completion deadline: July 29, 2009.
Money spent on construction (approx.): Rs 800 crore
Why has the project delayed: Failure of the contractor, primarily its inability to keep up the flow of funds.
Current status: The contractor has now been removed from the project by the Supreme Court.