National Highway 24 is a lifeline for people living in Indirapuram, Noida Sector 62 and Crossings Republik as it links Indirapuram to Noida and ensures easy connectivity to Delhi.
The stretch running along Indirapuram, however, is a traffic bottleneck of sorts because of its narrowness. Frequent jams have made it all the more necessary to ensure that work on the highway, also known as the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, begins soon.
Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a Rs 7,566 crore project to widen the expressway in December 2015, previous delays of about six years have put enormous pressures on the authorities to begin work soon.
Raghav Chandra, chairman, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), reveals that two packages for widening work have already been awarded. “The project is divided into four packages. Package-1 from the Nizamuddin Bridge to the UP border, of 8 km, has already been awarded and Welspun, a company from Gujarat, has won the bid.”
The biggest challenge Welspun (the concessionaire) faced was removal of high tension electricity lines in the area, which the company’s bankers had insisted should be removed by NHAI to enable work to begin. Chandra said it was something the concessionaire had to do as numerous colonies would be affected by the removal of the electricity connections. It should be a work in progress. The lines can be removed as work progresses. Four km out of 8km should be absolutely free for work to start, he says.
NHAI has managed to “bolster the confidence level of Welspun officials after almost 20 rounds of meetings with their CEO for road projects and they have deposited their performance guarantee, which is 5% of the project cost. Mobilisation of funds had started and the company is likely to tie up their financial package and move forward and start work “as they were well within their time.” The six-month agreement signed in January left Welspun with two months to tie up their financial package,” Chandra says.
Package two of the widening project between the Delhi border to Dasna is still pending with the Cabinet for approval.
The third package, from Dasna to Hapur, had been awarded to a company called Apco Chetak (Apco is based in MP and Chetak in Rajasthan).
Apco Chetak has initiated mobilisation (machinery) and a site camp has been set up. They are on the job.
The greenfield package from Dasna to Meerut requires land acquisition and work is in progress. “As soon as we get 80% of the land, we will start bidding it out,” Chandra explains.
As for completion, the project will take about three years to build. “It’s likely to be completed by the end of 2018,” he says.