Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari Friday laid the foundation stones of two high-speed highway corridors -- Rs 90,000-crore Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and Rs 9,000-crore Dwarka Expressway here. The ministers also dedicated the Rs 1,217-crore Jaipur Ring Road to the nation.
Addressing a gathering on the occasion, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the three projects are a gift for Delhi and Haryana. The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will change the future of Mewat region, and will bring it on industrial map of the country, she said appreciating that over 20 lakh new trees will be planted on these new roads, and these roads have the potential of becoming a tourist attraction in near future.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway would link two most important freight centres of the country and will boost economic activity and generate great employment opportunities. He appreciated Road Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, Ganga Rejuvenation and River Development Minister Nitin Gadkari's efforts in developing the national highway network in the country and said that he has successfully brought up this sector to the building of 29 km of National Highways a day.
Jaitley said nearly 91 per cent of the country's villages is linked with main roads. The Dwarka Expressway, once completed, will open newer avenues for industrial development in the entire region, he said and added these expressways will improve overall development. Gadkari said while developing expressways and highways, full attention is being given to minimising pollution levels.
He said the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, Dhaula Kuan flyover, etc, will definitely reduce traffic congestion, thereby improving the air quality in the city. The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will also speed up the development and smart cities will develop along them generating vast employment opportunities for the local people.
He said projects worth over 15 lakh crore are underway in the ministry, and these are being taken up with full transparency in a corruption-free atmosphere. He said all projects are being completed within time schedules. The greenfield Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will be India's longest expressway at 1,320 km and would reduce the travel time between the metropolises to 13 hours from the current 24 hours, he said.
Gadkari said the expressway would be completed in three years and has the potential to generate 50 lakh man-days of employment during construction. The expressway will pass through underdeveloped areas and about 15,000 hectares of land is being acquired for it at an estimated cost of Rs 25,000 crore, he added.
In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India vision, all transactions related to land acquisition, including the transfer of compensation to landowners, are being done digitally. "Delhi-Mumbai will be India's most environment-friendly expressway with a tree cover of 20 lakh trees and rainwater harvesting system at every 500 metres," Gadkari said.
The expressway has taken a record time-frame of less than one year from conceptualisation to award, with 148.5 km of works already awarded and a further 400 km to be awarded this month, he said. The remaining 800 km will be awarded in the next six months. The Delhi-Mumbai national corridor (NH-8 section of the Golden Quadrilateral) is one of the busiest and most critical routes of the national highways network, witnessing average traffic of more than 80,000 passenger car units (PCUs) per day.
Considering the present traffic scenario, it was decided to develop an alternative alignment connecting Delhi with Vadodara, which on linking up with the proposed Vadodara-Mumbai Expressway would create seamless connectivity between Delhi and Mumbai. The Delhi-Vadodara-Mumbai expressway would result in overall reduction of about 150 km in the present distance between Delhi-Mumbai, Gadkari said.
The Delhi-Vadodara Expressway, part of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway project, will be implemented at a cost of Rs 45,000 crore. The Vadodara-Mumbai Expressway part will also be executed at a cost of Rs 45,000 crore.
The Dwarka Expressway is 29 km long, out of which 18.9 km will fall in Haryana and 10.1 km in Delhi. It will be developed in four packages. It is also proposed to provide western connectivity to Indira Gandhi International Airport from Dwarka side.
It will also provide direct access to the upcoming Exhibition-Cum-Convention Centre (ECC) in Sector 25 of Dwarka. The Dwarka Expressway will be an eight-lane highway with the provision of three-lane service roads on either side.
Union ministers Mansukh L Mandaviya, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Rao Indrajit Singh were also present on the occasion, along with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari.
(With inputs from agencies.)