Delhi govt seeks cap on e-ways cost sharing

Wants Centre to declare them as national highways

Concerned over the cost overrun, the Delhi government has approached the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to declare 135-km long each western and eastern peripheral expressways running through Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as national highways and ensure completion of projects pending for nine-year in a timely manner.

The Delhi government was asked to bear 50 per cent cost of Rs 844-crore project at the instance of the Supreme Court in 2005. However, the total project cost has now been revised to Rs 3,589.56 crore.

After paying Rs 653.50 crore with “no envisaged benefits so far”, the National Capital Territory (NCT) government urged the court to fix a cut-off date up to which it had to bear the land acquisition price.

“Having given its commitment to the project almost 10 years ago, Delhi is bearing the brunt of both- continued movement of transit traffic, its hazards and resultant pollution as well as the repeated demands for release of additional funds for the expressways, even as the western peripheral expressway is just about 68 per cent complete and eastern peripheral expressway is yet to take off,” an application filed by the city government said.

“The government of NCT is always called upon to create and maintain world class infrastructure within the city. But the government of NCT Delhi has limited resources, land, which is the biggest resource for all states is vested with Government of India in Delhi,” it contended.

The city government said the project was mainly to benefit Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as it would open up hinterlands economically for developing commercial areas and townships along the expressways, besides having resultants duties and taxes, while Delhi would get only positive impact in term of clean air and decongestion of traffic.

Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had also written thrice in March 2010, April 2011 and August 2013 to road transport minister urging him to acquire land for eastern peripheral expressway – being constructed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) – entirely by his ministry.

Out of 135-km eastern peripheral expressway, 48.548-km covers Sonepat, Faridabad and Palwal in Haryana and 86.365-km runs through Baghpat, Gautam Budh Nagar and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

The western peripheral expressway falls fully in Haryana, originating from Kundli and terminating at South of Palwal.

Both the expressways  – connecting five national highways – NH-1, NH-2, NH-8, NH-10 and NH-24  – were supposed to decongest Outer Ring Road and Ring Road and to avoid convergence of non-destined vehicles.

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