NHAI scraps project to widen Kharar-Banur-Tepla road in Punjab
Project would have decongested Chandigarh and Zirakpur by giving traffic moving from Delhi side towards Himachal and J&K an alternative route.Updated: Sep 23, 2019 00:28 IST
A year after issuing the notification for widening 40-km-long Kharar-Banur-Tepla road, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has scrapped the project owing to high cost.
The authority was to acquire 573 acres in around 43 villages between Tepla (near Ambala) and Kurali (near Rayat Bahra University) for widening this National Highway 205. The cost of project was pegged at ₹2,100 crore. In the notification issued in June 2018, the NHAI had invited objections from the landowners and general public.
A senior NHAI official, who did not want to be named, said: “The project has been scrapped as the cost of land is very high. Widening existing roads is very expensive. Also, existing infrastructure is coming in our way, and rehabilitating the affected families is not possible.”
The official said the NHAI is now thinking about realigning the road and acquire agricultural land instead, which will cost less. “We are conducting a survey, which will be completed soon,” he said.
The proposed road was the only solution to decongest Chandigarh and Zirakpur as the traffic moving from Delhi side towards Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir would have got an alternative route. The road alignment was also in tune with the master plan prepared by Greater Mohali Area Development Authority.
Inderjit Ghai, managing director, General Highway and Infracom Private Limited, who prepared the detailed project report, confirmed that the after scrapping the project, the NHAI has decided to explore the possibility of a new greenfield alignment to connect Ghataur village on the Kharar-Ropar highway with NH-44 near Rajpura, which will not solve traffic congestion in Chandigarh and Zirakpur.
“If the now scrapped project would have been undertaken under built-operate-transfer model, the NHAI could have recovered the cost within a decade owing to the huge traffic on the road. It would have helped in reducing pollution and road accidents besides reducing congestion in Chandigarh and Zirakpur,” he said.
Last month, in a letter to the Prime Minister’s office, the NHAI had suggested that the public sector should discontinue constructing roads and encourage private sector to take over the completed projects. The letter said the NHAI was “totally logjammed by an unplanned and excessive expansion of roads and it is mandated to pay much higher costs for land acquisition and construction”.
First Published: Sep 23, 2019 00:28 IST