The work on the six-lane Jalandhar-Panipat expressway is set to get delayed further with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) deciding to file a review petition in the Supreme Court to scrutinise its earlier verdict in the case in which the latter had ruled in favour of the construction firm allowing it to relocate the toll plaza in Karnal district of Haryana.
On April 19, the apex court had given relief to the developer, Soma, a Hyderabad-based group, engaged in constructing the 291-km expressway, by allowing it to shift the toll plaza near Nilokheri in Karnal district and asked to complete the project by March 31 this year.
At present, there are summer vacations in the apex court which will open next month and hence the petition will be filed thereafter only.
It will delay the construction work on the expressway by several months.
Confirming the move, NHAI project director for project implementation (Ambala unit) Vipin Sharma said, "We want a relook by the apex court at its last month's order and will file a review petition after June 13 when the summer vacations end."
He said they did not want to shift the toll plaza from near Nilokheri in Karnal district but the court had permitted to shift it to somewhere between Gharaunda and Karnal town.
By the time order in the review petition comes, there would a further delay in starting the work on the expressway, he said, adding that only 30 per cent work remained to be completed.
The project has been hanging fire for the past four years and is causing problem to the commuters here.
The construction firm, Soma, has failed to complete the construction of flyovers, underpasses and installation of street lights on the national highway, putting the lives of commuters under threat, besides causing inconvenience to them.
In Jalandhar city, flyovers were to be constructed from Rama Mandi, PAP Chowk to Chuggiti while another flyover near a private university is still incomplete.
Due to non-completion of these flyovers, huge traffic snarls are the order of the day in the city.
Interestingly, the construction work on the six-laning of the Jalandhar-Panipat highway began in May 2009, which was scheduled to be completed in 30 months' time.
The earlier cost of the project was Rs 2,700 crore which after repeated delays has escalated to Rs 4,500 crore.
Several persons have been injured and many lives lost on the stretch due to road accidents in the past four years.
Bone of contention
· The construction firm, Soma, wanted to shift the toll plaza from near Nilokheri in Karnal district to somewhere between Gharaunda and Karnal town, which the NHAI opposed
· The case went to the court which ruled in favour of NHAI; the firm challenged the order in apex court which in April allowed it to shift the plaza
Commuters at receiving end
· Soma has failed to complete the construction of flyovers, underpasses and installation of street lights on the national highway
· In Jalandhar city, flyovers were to be constructed from Rama Mandi, PAP Chowk to Chuggiti while another flyover near a private university is still incomplete
· Several persons have been injured and many lives lost on the stretch due to road accidents in the past four years