Ludhiana, November 29
Up in arms against what they allege as “unfair compensation” for their land under acquisition for the mega project, a bunch of farmers have stalled the ongoing construction work on the upcoming Ludhiana-Ropar highway, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has said.
While over 13 per cent construction of 37.7-km stretch under Package-1 of the 116-km-long Greenfield project, including a 19.5-km spur from Pipalmajra to Kharar with Ludhiana bypass, being built at the cost of Rs 2,857.14 crore has already been achieved within the limits of Ludhiana district, the physical possession of land for the remaining 26 per cent stretch is still awaited, officials have revealed.
Of the total 116-km project, the land rates to acquire 50-km stretch have been put under arbitration to review and revise the acquisition award.
The development assumes significance as the stiff resistance by landowners to part away with their lands coming under the entire Ludhiana-Ropar expressway was delaying the acquisition proceedings for the major infrastructure development project.
Rajya Sabha MP from Ludhiana Sanjeev Arora told The Tribune here on Wednesday that the work on Package-1 of the four to six-lane National Highway-205K from junction with NE-5 village near to Manewal in Ludhiana to junction with NH-205 near Bheora village in Ropar, including spur to Kharar with Ludhiana bypass, had been taken up on a priority basis after sufficient land was made available for the project.
“As of date, the project has achieved 13.2 per cent physical and financial progress,” he said.
However, a group of farmers, whose lands had come under the project, have forced the construction firm to stop the ongoing work at two separate stretches — 0-8.3-km and 15-30.2-km — for seeking higher compensation.
Arora, who reviewed the progress of the project here recently, said the agitating farmers were being pacified and assured fair compensation for their lands to avoid any further delay in the construction of the highway.
NHAI officials briefed the Rajya Sabha MP that physical possession of 67.93 hectares, which accounted for 26.13 per cent, of the total 260 hectares of land required for the project, was still awaited even almost a year after the project took off in December last.
They said the deposit and payment of compensation for 55.2 hectares, determination of compensation for 11.92 hectares and final notification under Section 3D of the National Highways Act, 1956, was yet to be issued for 0.81 hectares of land required for the project.
“Of the total 116-km expressway, the construction work was in progress over a 66-km stretch while the physical possession of land to build the remaining 50-km stretch is still pending,” Arora was told.
The NHAI officials said the rates fixed for the land acquisition were being reviewed by the arbitrator, who is the Divisional Commissioner. “After the review, the case will be put up before the NHAI Chairman, who will take a final call on the matter,” he said.
With Rs 951 crore civil cost and Rs 410 crore land acquisition cost, the total capital cost for Package-1, for which the work was awarded in September 2021, and began in December 2022, was Rs 1,368.91 crore for which 260 hectares of land was required. The Package-2, comprising 47.24-km stretch, involved a civil cost of Rs 1,035 crore and land acquisition amount of Rs 461.71 crore, taking the total capital cost to Rs 1,488.23 crore. However, the possession of land had been delayed under this package as well, for which the work had been awarded in December 2021.
The NHAI had approved 4-6 access-controlled highway with a route alignment connecting Manewal village in Ludhiana on the upcoming Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway with Bheora village near Ropar for the construction of the Greenfield expressway, which includes a 19.5-km spur from Pipalmajra to Kharar with Ludhiana bypass, and was being developed under the Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-1.
The expressway was being built in three parts under the hybrid annuity model (HAM) mode, and will connect Ludhiana, Ropar and Mohali districts.
Under the HAM mode, 40 per cent of the project cost was provided by the government as construction support during the construction period and the balance 60 per cent was paid as annuity payments over the operations period along with interest thereon to the concessionaire.
While three railway overbridges to be built under the project had also been approved by the Northern Railway, the plan and profile of the project had been submitted and the alignment had been approved.
Land not available
The non-availability of partial land required for the project and protest by a bunch of farmers was causing hurdles in the ongoing construction work. Even as the NHAI had awarded the work and construction agencies had begun the work with the minimum possible land availability, repeated interventions at the level of the Chief Secretary had not been able to complete the land acquisition proceedings and pacify the protesters so far. “Every time we approach the district and state authorities, they assure us that they would make the land available soon but the wait continues,” a senior NHAI officer quipped.
- Farmers stop ongoing construction work
- 67.93 hectares of the total 260 hectares of land still wanted
116 km Length
Rs 2,857.14 cr Cost
Lanes: 4-6 ROW: 60 meter
- Status: Work started, stalled by farmers, partial land awaited,
- Appointed date: December 2022
- Deadline: December 2024
- Owner: NHAI
- Project Model: HAM
- Route: To start from Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway (NE-5) near Manewal village in Ludhiana and terminate on NH-205 at Ropar near Bheora village. Besides, a spur from Pipalmajra to Kharar will connect Ludhiana bypass
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