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14,000 fewer vehicles entering Gurugram everyday after opening of KMP expressway

Experts say this Expressway, which is part of the extended ring road comprising the KMP Expressway and Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal(KGP) Expressway encircling Delhi, is going to reduce decongestion and check pollution, as was initially envisaged by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) way back in 2003.

gurgaon Updated: Dec 05, 2018 11:29 IST
Abhishek Behl
Abhishek Behl
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
KMP expressway,KMP e-way,Kherki Daula toll plaza
A view of Kundli Manesar Palwal Expressway, in Gurugram, which was opened on November 19.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

About 14,000 fewer vehicles have been entering the city from the Kherki Daula toll plaza every day since the opening of the Kundli-Manesar section of the KMP( Kundli-Manesar-Palwal) Expressway on November 19, as shown by official data. If such a state of affairs continues, as it had on the Manesar-Palwal section of the Expressway, which opened two years ago, there is hope of significant reduction in traffic congestion and vehicular pollution in both in Gurugram and Delhi.

Experts say that this Expressway, which is part of the extended ring road comprising the KMP Expressway and Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal(KGP) Expressway encircling Delhi, is going to reduce decongestion and check pollution, as was initially envisaged by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) way back in 2003.

Data gathered by the concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, MCEPL, and operator Skylark reveals that on an average, 14,000 fewer vehicles have been passing through the Kherki Daula toll plaza daily from Jaipur to Delhi, since November 15. Surprisingly, the figures reveal that not only large trucks but smaller vehicles, such as cars, jeeps and light commercial vehicles, are also preferring the KMP Expressway to avoid the congestion in Delhi and Gurugram.

On November 20, 2017 the number of vehicles passing through Kherki Daula toll was 86,713, whereas the on the same day this year the number was 76,450. On November 21 last year, the number was 86,509 whereas this year it was 72,654. The trend has remained the same from November 19 to 30. “The KMP Expressway opening has not only significantly reduced traffic at the Kherki Daula toll plaza, but has also hit revenue. Most of the commercial vehicles bound for Punjab are taking this road, while smaller vehicles headed for Chandigarh and adjoining districts are also taking this road ,” says Navneet Pratap Singh, CEO, Skylark.

The average daily reduction recorded in the entry of cars/jeeps and vans since November 19 is 9,246; light commercial vehicles (LCVs) is 2,899; buses 2,615, and multi-axle vehicles and trucks 2,020. The shortfall in daily revenue is around ₹5.25 lakh after the opening of this road, reveals data.

This decline in the number of vehicles entering Gurugram, however, is being described by experts as a reflection of the success of the idea of a ring road around Delhi connecting various cities through the Western Peripheral Expressway and the Eastern Peripheral Expressway. The idea was first proposed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) in 2003 and the Supreme Court had directed the union government in 2005 to build a ring road around Delhi to check vehicular pollution and traffic congestion.

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that completion of the KMP Expressway is a positive development for both transport and environment, as trucks need not wait outside Gurugram and Delhi for entry. Further, there would be no restriction on the movement of vehicles.

“The road also makes economic sense, as a truck while entering Delhi has to pay toll tax and environment compensation tax, which they can avoid now and they should do it,” Roychowdhury said.

As per CSE, heavy vehicles account for almost 30% of vehicular pollution in Delhi as they burn diesel and leads to pollution by particulate matter and Nitrogen Dioxide.

“In a 2015 study, we found that 10,000 trucks at an average daily enter Delhi from Gurugram and the total number was 52,000 daily from nine entry points. As it has happened at Kherki Daula, this ring road will reduce the number of commercial vehicles entering the Delhi-NCR and this, in turn, will reduce both congestion and pollution,” she said.

Those planning the project had estimated that 25% to 30% of non-destined commercial traffic entering Gurugram and Delhi would choose this diversion. Strong votaries of this road also cite the steep hike in toll collection at Manesar-Palwal section as another reason for the success of the Expressway.

“Toll on this road is not being collected yet, but initial traffic movement is quite robust. Both commercial and private vehicles are using this road. Once people realise its benefits, both usage and toll collection will increase. This will reduce congestion and traffic significantly,” says Pradeep Goyal, vice-president, Essel Infraporjects Ltd, which was awarded the contract in 2016. Officials privy to the matter said that the modalities for toll collection are still being worked out.

Prof Sewa Ram from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, also said that the daily reduction of 14,000 vehicles was significant, as it would mean less congestion, pollution and fewer accidents. “The number should touch 30,000 in the next six months This ring road is going to change the freight movement in the northern region, as it will not only help in traffic but also attract new traffic,” he said.

He further suggested that Haryana government should adopt the policy of differential tolling by keeping the rates lower on the KMP Expressway, whereas levying higher fees on the National Highway(NH)-48. “This will also motivate people to take the KMP Expressway,” he adds.

Meanwhile, highway operator Skylark said that average revenue loss after November 19 is around ₹5.25 lakh per day. “The loss of traffic is around 14,000 vehicles daily as compared to same period last year,”says Rajender Singh Bhati, project head, Kherki Daula toll plaza.

Data also reveals that when the Manesar-Palwal section was opened, the average daily loss of revenue was ₹4.5 lakh. Bhati said that the loss in revenue would be even more once the facilities on the KMP Expressway fully come up. This is due to the fact that not only the diverted traffic but also new traffic will prefer to avoid Gurugram and Delhi.

After the inauguration of this Manesar-Kundli stretch on November 19 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the total length of the KMP Expressway is now 136 kilometres. The 52-km-long Manesar-Palwal section was inaugurated in 2016. The newly opened section passes through through Jhajjar, Badli, Bahadurgarh, Sonipat and connects four major national highways, such as NH-1, NH- 2, NH-8 and NH -10. It joins the KGP Expressway at Palwal to complete the circle around Delhi-NCR

A large number of warehouses have also come up along this road in Tauru, Farrukhnagar and along the highway, all of which are also expected to attract significant volume of traffic.

First Published: Dec 05, 2018 11:28 IST