Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 22
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has started the process to amend the alignment of the Delhi-Katra high-speed expressway (e-way) in order to ‘adjust’ Amritsar in the multi-crore project.
Rajya Sabha MP Shwait Malik said the move had ended all speculations. He alleged the state government had attempted to exclude Amritsar from the project
for its “vested interests”.
“The authorities will re-evaluate the alignment on the directions of the Ministry for Road Transport and Highways. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has confirmed that Amritsar will be included in the project and an amendment is being introduced accordingly,” he said.
Sources said modalities were being worked out to so that the alignment touches Manawala, about 17-18 km from Amritsar city, before tilting towards Gurdaspur.
In the last alignment, the expressway was supposed to divert 60 km ahead of Amritsar city through Kartarpur (near Jalandhar).
A controversy had erupted over the proposed 575-km-long Delhi-Katra stretch of the expressway as Amritsar was supposed to be dropped from the final plan of the Rs 60,000-crore project. The issue was taken up prominently by MP Gurjeet Aujla and lately, the SGPC had also taken up the matter in its executive body meeting. It is learnt that the land acquisition process for the project had already started in February in parts of Malwa and Majha. Once executed, the travel span between Amritsar and New Delhi will be curtailed to half. “It will tentatively be just a four-and-a-half-hour drive to New Delhi and three-hour drive to Katra,” Malik said.
To promote tourism
The e-way project is aimed at promoting religious tourism by connecting two major shrines — the Golden Temple in Amritsar and Mata Vaishno Devi at Katra in Jammu and Kashmir.
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