The silver lining is that the cost of the project is being brought down by Rs.183 crore (nearly $29 million) from its original estimated cost of Rs 1,863 crore
Intended to free the national capital New Delhi from traffic congestion, an ambitious 136-km expressway project in Haryana is unlikely to be completed even nine years beyond its original deadline.
The construction work of the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway, which has courted controversies ever since it was allotted in January 2006, has now been given a new deadline - August 2018.
But the silver lining is that the cost of the project is being brought down by Rs.183 crore (nearly $29 million) from its original estimated cost of Rs 1,863 crore.
"The project involves the construction of a six-lane expressway, instead of the earlier proposed four-lane road. The project cost would come to Rs 1,680 crore, which is less than the estimated project cost of Rs.1,863 crore," Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) managing director Vineet Garg told IANS.
The original deadline for the KMP expressway was July 2009 but the project got mired in controversies and litigation with deadlines being continuously extended.
The project, touted to help ease traffic flow, especially of heavy vehicles, through New Delhi, has itself been crawling for the past over six years. It will pass through five districts in Haryana - Sonipat, Jhajjar, Gurgaon, Mewat and Palwal.
The significance of the expressway is that it will not only connect four major national highways (NHs) - NH-1 (Delhi-Ambala-Amritsar), NH-2 (Delhi-Agra-Varanasi-Dankuni), NH-8 (Delhi-Jaipur-Ahmedabad-Mumbai) and NH-10 (Delhi-Hisar-Fazilka-Indo-Pak border), but will significantly reduce the traffic from north Indian states to central, western and southen India and vice versa.
The Haryana government, under Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, had earlier this year decided to re-allot the work after this was halted due to acquisition issues and litigation.
"The company which had been awarded the work of KMP Expressway has been halting the project for long," Khattar had said earlier.
The Manesar-Palwal section of the expressway is likely to be completed by January 2016 while the Kundli-Manesar section is likely to be completed by August 2018.
The earlier concessionaire, KMP Expressway Limited, failed to complete the work even up to December 2014, despite warnings from the Haryana government.
The Supreme Court had on January 30 directed the state government to award the contract to a new concessionaire. Thereafter, the agreement of KMP Expressway Limited was terminated on March 19.
The previous Congress government of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, which had launched the project, had claimed that "work on the expressway was going on a war footing".
"The matter got into litigation and was pending before the Supreme Court, leading to delays," Hooda told IANS.