Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 2
Acceding to the Punjab Government’s proposal to convert the Punjab stretch of the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway to a greenfield project, the Centre, on Tuesday, agreed by providing a direct spur from Nakodar, onward to the five historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib and Tarn Taran, leading up to Amritsar, a press release by the state government read.
The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways of India, Nitin Gadkari, conveyed this to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh during a video-conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had earlier raised the issue with the Centre, after local citizens and their representatives expressed concern over the project’s failure to connect the religious and historical towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Tarn Taran.
Also, the original proposal of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had entailed widening of the existing GT Road from Kartarpur to Amritsar as Brownfield project, which was proving expensive as it would involve major demolitions due to land acquisition.
During the video-conferencing, the Union Minister told Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh that after detailed deliberations with the state government officials and the examination of all aspects of the proposal, the NHAI had approved the alignment of Phase-I of the Delhi–Amritsar–Katra Expressway with the Delhi-Gurdaspur section (entering the state near Khanauri and passing near the towns of Khanauri, Patran, Bhawanigarh, Ludhiana, Nakodar, Jalandhar Kartarpur, Qadian and Gurdaspur) as a Greenfield project, along with the development of existing NH-3 from Kartarpur (junction of proposed Expressway with Jalandhar-Amritsar road NH-3) to Amritsar bypass as a 6-lane Access Controlled Expressway, as a Brownfield project.
To speed up the process of land acquisition for the new Greenfield alignment, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has agreed to an early meeting between the NHAI and the state government authorities, as suggested by Gadkari, according to an official spokesperson.
Giving details, the spokesperson said the Greenfield alignment would provide direct Expressway connectivity to Amritsar, starting from Kangsabu village on the Jalandhar-Nakodar National Highway connecting Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib, Tarntaran and Amritsar and merging with Amritsar-Dera Baba Nanak road near Rajasasi Airport.
This alignment, covering about 100 kms, will connect the five religious towns established by five Sikh Gurus –Sultanpur Lodhi (Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji), Goindwal Sahib (Sri Guru Amardas Ji), Khadoor Sahib (Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji), Tarn Taran (Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji) and Amritsar (Sri Guru Ramdas Ji).
The Expressway project is being executed by the NHAI with the assistance of Feedback Infra.
The original alignment, approved by the state governments of Punjab and Haryana, was not favoured as it entailed longer route, making the toll road less viable.
The revised alignment, finalised as per the NHAI proposal, spanned the Khanauri-Malerkotla-Ludhiana-Nakodar-Kartapur-Qadian-Gurdaspur-Pathankot areas, which would now change in view of the brownfield to greenfield conversion.
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