Ludhiana, November 30
Finally, the work to construct the much-awaited Ludhiana-Bathinda highway has begun, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has confirmed.
Even as the physical possession of 26.5 per cent of the total land required for Package-1 of the 30.3-km Greenfield project was yet to be taken over, the construction work for this component at the cost of Rs 906.51 crore has already achieved 8 per cent completion so far.
However, the acquisition proceedings for almost the entire land measuring 323.52 hectares for Package-2 of the 45.243-km highway project to be built at the cost of Rs 1,555.13 crore were yet to be completed.
The development assumes significance as it has been almost two years since the award of the major infrastructure development project contract but the complete land has not yet been made available for the construction of the highway so far.
The Rajya Sabha MP from Ludhiana, Sanjeev Arora, told The Tribune here on Thursday that the work to construct 30.3-km-long first package of the Greenfield highway project at the cost of Rs 906.51 crore has taken off and has been progressing fast with over 8 per cent completion achieved till date.
He disclosed that the work on the second package comprising a 45.243-km-long highway at the cost of Rs 1,555.13 crore will also begin shortly as the land acquisition proceedings for the same have also been taken up on a priority.
The NHAI officials briefed Arora that physical possession of 56.54 hectares, which accounted for 26.5 per cent, of the total 213.38 hectares of land required for the first phase of the project, was still awaited.
They informed that the deposit and payment of compensation for 53.18 hectares, determination of compensation for 1.99 hectares and final notification under Section 3D of the National Highways Act, 1956, was yet to be issued for 1.37 hectares of land required for Package-1.
The Rajya Sabha MP, who reviewed the progress of the project here, recently, was also apprised that the land acquisition proceedings for 323.52 hectares to build a 45.243-km highway under second phase of the project, were still pending at different stages.
The first component of the NH-754-AD will comprise 30.3-km while the second part will run into a 45.243-km stretch.
A total of 323.52 hectares of land was required to build the 45.243-km stretch of the highway in the jurisdiction of Ludhiana district, for which the total award amount of Rs 544.36 crore had been deposited and disbursed to the landowners. However, the farmers were resisting the physical possession of the acquired land, seeking more money.
According to the plan, the construction work on the first package of the project was scheduled to begin by August 31 and was targeted to be completed by August 31, 2025, while the second component’s construction work was scheduled to take off by June 30 to be finished by June 30, 2025. But, the non-availability of land has been delaying the start of construction work for the second phase while that for the first phase has finally begun recently.
The 45.24-km stretch in Ludhiana district entails the civil cost of Rs 981 crore and land acquisition expenditure of Rs 544.36 crore, taking the total capital cost to Rs 1,555.13 crore.
While the Package-1 of the 30.3-km-long Greenfield expressway to build six-lane access controlled highway will start from junction with Amritsar-Bathinda Greenfield road (NH-754A) near Rampura Phul to junction with Moga-Barnala road (NH-703) near Tallewal village on NH-754-AD falling in Bathinda, Moga and Barnala districts, the Package-2 comprising 45.24-km stretch will take off from junction with Moga-Barnala road (NH-703) near Tallewal village to junction with Delhi-Katra expressway (NE-5) near Ballowal village in Ludhiana on NH-754-AD.
The six-lane access-controlled highway will connect Ballowal village on the Delhi-Amritsar expressway with Rampura Phul on the Amritsar-Bathinda expressway.
Once constructed, the drive from Ludhiana to Bathinda will become smoother and faster. The part of Ludhiana-Ajmer economic corridor (EC-8) was scheduled to be completed within 24 months under the Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase 1.
The widening and strengthening of the highway had been taken up by the NHAI in two parts under the hybrid annuity model (HAM) model.
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