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Narendra Modi inaugurates Kundali-Manesar-Palwal Expressway: Will new highway help cut pollution, traffic jams in Delhi?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Western Peripheral Expressway, popularly known as Kundali-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway, on Monday in Haryana's Gurugram district. The project, which was originally expected to be completed in 2009, has missed multiple deadlines. Meant to divert heavy polluting vehicles from Delhi, it has taken 15 years to complete the project.

The completion of expressway comes at a time when the pollution levels of the capital have skyrocketed and the government authorities are mulling drastic options to cut vehicular traffic including a ban on diesel vehicles on days when air quality becomes severe. Along with the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), it is expected to divert more than 50,000 heavy vehicles away from Delhi, reported Hindustan Times.

A sum of Rs 6,400 crore has been spent on the expressway project and 3,846 acres of land was acquired at a cost of Rs 2,788 crore. The length of the stretch from Kundli to Manesar is over 83 km. This stretch will have 14 major/minor bridges, 56 underpasses/agricultural vehicular underpasses, seven intersections and seven toll plazas.

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

"The objective of this expressway is to provide high-speed link between northern Haryana and southern districts and provide uninterrupted high-speed link for traffic, especially commercial traffic, from Haryana to neighbouring states. It would also decongest the road traffic from Delhi and thereby reduce pollution,” a Haryana government spokesperson told PTI. The design speed of this expressway is 120 kmph for light vehicles and 100 kmph for heavy ones.

The spokesperson said that two rows of shrubs will be planted in the median. Apart from this, two rows, on each side, of trees like neem, arjun, and sheesham would be planted near the extreme end of row. "Apart from this, drip irrigation system would be adopted for a median plantation to conserve and save water. Fountains, historical and cultural monuments have been made at various locations to improve the aesthetic look of the expressway," he said.

He also said that four sites have been earmarked for wayside amenities. One ambulance, one crane and one police patrol vehicle with a helpline number have been stationed in every 20 km for speedy response in case of accidents or emergencies.

The project was originally proposed in 2003 and was awarded to KMP Expressway Ltd, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of DS Constructions, Madhucon Projects and Apollo Enterprises in 2005. The initial total cost of the project was Rs 1,915 crore.

According to a concession agreement signed between Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) and KMP expressways in 2005 January, the project was set to be completed in June 2009 but the deadline was missed, reported The Times of India.

In June 2012, in a multi-party meeting between Haryana government, Delhi government and the developer in which a revised deadline of May 2013 was fixed. However, due to delay in construction, HSIIDC decided to penalise the company in April 2012 after which the dispute went to the courts and the project was stalled.

Later on, the lenders led by IDBI Bank served the concessionaire KMP Expressway with a substitution notice due to its continued defaults in the performance of its financial and other obligations. Subsequently, then Haryana government, which had also awarded the contract, decided to terminate it and pay KMP Expressway and lenders Rs 1,300 crore as the termination payment.

In 2014, the project was revived. It was also decided to upgrade the expressway to a six-lane expressway. Following that on 5 April, 2016, the 53-km stretch between Manesar and Palwal was opened for the public use.

KMP expressway will connect National Highway-1 (towards Panipat), near Kundli, with National Highway 10 (Rohtak Road, near Bahadurgarh), NH8 (Jaipur expressway at Manesar), and NH2 (Delhi-Agra highway near Palwal), reported Hindustan Times.  Trucks coming from Jaipur (NH8) and destined to Punjab (NH1) will now directly reach their destinations in Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan without having to enter Delhi.


Updated Date: Nov 19, 2018 15:52 PM

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