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Modi launches Eastern Peripheral and Delhi-Meerut expressways, calls its infra for all

PM Narendra Modi’s government has made road construction its priority: between 2014-15 and 2018-19, the overall budgetary allocation for the highways sector was increased from Rs 32,000 crore to Rs 71,000 crore.

india Updated: May 28, 2018 00:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Narendra Modi,Modi inaugurates expressway,PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a roadshow after inaugurating the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, in New Delhi. (Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated two major road projects that will decongest Delhi — the first phase of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway in the Capital and the 135km Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) connecting two Haryana cities, Kundli and Palwal, via Ghaziabad and Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

The part of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway inaugurated on Sunday will benefit residents of east Delhi colonies, NCR neighbourhoods such as Indirapuram, Vaishali and Kaushambi in Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida (West) as it is expected to reduce travelling time significantly in Delhi-NCR.

“Modern infrastructure plays an important role in improving the living standard of 120 crore Indians. Infrastructure does not differentiate on the basis of caste, creed, religion and economic status,” Modi said as he accused his political rivals of trying to block his development plans.

“Since pollution and congestion had become a major problem for Delhi, our government took this issue seriously and came up with the EPE. It is expected that nearly 30% vehicles entering Delhi will move away and nearly 50,000 vehicles will no longer need to enter Delhi,” the PM said at the opening ceremony of EPE in Baghpat.

The first phase of the 14-lane Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which starts from Nizamuddin Bridge to UP border in Ghazipur, is being constructed at a cost of Rs 842 crore. The total cost of the project is ₹7,500 crore, which will do away with 31 traffic signals on the Delhi-Meerut road, the busiest highway in the region.

The total length of the expressway is 82km, of which the first 27.74km (up to Dasna) will have 14 lanes, while the rest will be a six-lane highway.

The Delhi-Meerut Expressway will also have dedicated bicycle tracks on the nearly 28km stretch between Delhi and Dasna, which will reduce travel time between Delhi and Meerut to 45 minutes from the existing two hours.

The EPE, which connects National Highway (NH) 1 and NH 2, will cut traffic time between Kundli and Palwal in Haryana from over four hours to around 72 minutes.

The EPE, which is estimated to cost Rs 11,000 crore and was completed in a record time of 500 days against the estimated 910 days, is expected to reduce Delhi’s pollution by 27.48%. It is a fully access-controlled six-lane expressway with entry/exit through seven designated interchanges. The EPE has a closed tolling system in which toll will be collected only for the distance travelled.

The EPE is the first expressway in the country to use solar power along its entire length. It connects Kundli to Palwal through Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar.

Speaking at the event, Union road transport, highways and shipping minister Gadkari said, “Initially, the governments of UP and Haryana expressed inability to share funds (for the EPE project). After our government came to power and the Supreme Court was monitoring the project, we gave nearly Rs 6,000 crore. The rising pollution situation in Delhi was embarrassing. I used to hold meetings and talks with chief ministers of UP and Haryana and even with district officials to make sure the EPE project was completed.”.

First Published: May 27, 2018 12:56 IST