One for the road: New highways

If you?ve travelled on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, you?ll know what the FM has in store for Delhiites heading out of the city.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 13:36 IST

If you’ve travelled on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, you’ll know what the finance minister has in store for Delhiites heading out of the city. And you may not have to wait long for that super smooth drive.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced 1,000 km of access control express highways on seven congested roads, of which four are in Delhi. They are DelhiAgra, Delhi-Chandigarh, DelhiJaipur and Delhi-Meerut. Others are the Vadodara-Mumbai, Bangalore-Chennai and Kolkatta-Dhanbad stretches.

These expressways would provide faster traffic movement and an alternative route of reaching the destination.

But the experience will come for a price. The government has decided that the roads will have a new alignment and will be built on design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) model. Tracking of the new roads is yet to be done. "All the roads selected are very congested and need an alternate road," an official explained, adding that project cost has not been worked out.

Officials say travelling on such roads may cost almost double than that on the present toll roads of the National Highways Authority of India. "One will have to pay for the riding comfort," an official said.

But, then the comfort will be that of international standard. "The concessionaries will be selected through an international competitive bidding process," Chidambaram said. Officials added that the quality of the expressways would be much better than that of the national highways and even that of the Mumbai-Pune expressway. The project will take around a couple of years for completion.

At present, the NH roads connecting the Capital to Chandigarh, Agra and Jaipur are in a fine shape and devoid of any major problems. "It seems that the new expressways have been planned keeping in view the future requirement, especially movement of people, goods and tourists," the official added.

Along with the four expressways announced in the budget, the ongoing construction of western and eastern expressways is likely to sig nificantly reduce the entry of heavy transport vehicles into the city. The four expressways would meet the eastern and western expressways mooted by the NCR Planning Board at some junction outside the Delhi borders.

Apart from this, Delhi will also get Rs 43 crore from the road transport ministry to widen and improve road quality within the city limits. Delhi government has plans to improve national highways within the city with the money to be allocated from the Central Road Fund.

Funds for Commonwealth Games The government has also earmarked a whopping Rs 150 crore exclusively for the Commonwealth Games 2010.

The money given to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has been primarily to improve the sports infrastructure in Delhi. But, it can also be used for preparing a blueprint for Delhi for organising the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

The government has constituted a group of ministers headed by HRD minister Arjun Singh to coordinate work related to the Games. The GoM has reconfirmed the site of the Games near Akshardham temple, work on which is expected to start by the middle of this year. The GoM has approved the model to fund construction of the Village and its future utilisation as a hostel for DU students.

Apart from this, the money has also been allocated for creating sports infrastructure like constructing new stadia, sports complex, swimming pool and installation of synthetic hockey and athletic surface.

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 13:36 IST