AAP govt’s plan to decongest Delhi with elevated corridors runs into railway hurdle
Of the two proposed elevated corridors, one was 29 kilometres along Anand Vihar terminal to Peeragarhi (east-west corridor); another one was to run 24 kilometres from Wazirabad to airport (north-south corridor).Updated: Feb 17, 2017 12:28 IST
One of the Delhi government’s ambitious elevated corridors, the construction of which was to begin soon, has been red-flagged by the railway.
The AAP government had, during its celebration of two years in power, announced that work on the two elevated corridors will begin soon.
The same was announced by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in his 2016-17 budget speech.
Of the two proposed elevated corridors, one was 29 kilometres along Anand Vihar terminal to Peeragarhi (east-west corridor); another one was to run 24 kilometres from Wazirabad to airport (north-south corridor).
However, the Anand Vihar corridor is now caught in a bureaucratic hurdle. Since, a major part of it has to run parallel to the railway line between Anand Vihar and New Delhi railway station, the railway officials have conveyed their reservations in giving land to the government.
“The design has been submitted to the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC), but they cannot sanction it till we get railway’s approval. The railway’s objection is that if government builds an elevated corridor, they won’t be able to construct another railway track in future. We have written to the Railway Board chairperson to resolve the issue,” said a PWD official.
Meanwhile, sources said that Railway Board had earlier given an in principle approval for the project, which is aimed to decongest the city. However, the officer who gave the nod got transferred, and the new officer has now raised the objections.
The bureaucratic tangle will claim time, and tender for the project cannot be floated before the end of this year, he said, adding that it means commuters cannot take the elevated corridor before 2020.
“The east-west corridor will further run parallel to Rohtak road till Tikri border and a design has been submitted to UTTIPEC. Another elevated road between Signature Bridge and airport is in the pipeline. These corridors will help in decongesting Delhi,” PWD minister Satyendar Jain had said on Tuesday.
According to PWD officials, there is a need to create additional infrastructure in order to accommodate increasing number of vehicles. A few elevated roads were inaugurated in two years, but these projects were initiated during the previous government.
“Delhi is one of the few big cities in India that does not have a bypass. Construction of the peripheral highways has been ongoing for years and will take at least three more years to complete. The government needs to push the elevated corridor, as this 1,400-sq km city requires an intercity bypass to avoid congestion,” said a PWD official.
Union Ministry of Urban Development has also proposed the construction of five critical roads to decongest Delhi and improve connectivity within the city. One of the five roads proposed is the extension of Barapullah phase-III. It will run from East Delhi to airport, connecting the Dwarka Expressway.
Another important project proposed is Urban Extension Roads, which will connect North Delhi with the airport and Gurgaon. Once this road is built, commuters will be able to avoid congested areas of central and south Delhi such as Connaught Place and Rao Tula Ram Marg.
“This road will also decongest the ring road, especially the Rao Tula Ram Marg stretch. Someone coming from outer Delhi, who wants to go to Gurgaon or south Delhi, can take this route instead of going through the city. We need to create such elevated corridors in order to avoid congestion,” the official added.
What has affected Delhi’s roads is slow construction of the eastern and western peripheral expressways. They had been aimed at decongestion of city roads and reduction of pollution, as truck wouldn’t need to enter Delhi if the projects are completed. The two expressways — each about 135 km long — were planned in 2006 following a Supreme Court order to form a ring road around Delhi for channeling non-Delhi bound traffic to skip the capital.