New Delhi: The nearly 70 km Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which has been divided into four parts, is on its way to be fully functional by 3 May 2020, which is the schedule date of completion.
In its response to a RTI query filed by The Sunday Guardian, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has stated that the project has faced no cost overruns and was well on its way to be completed by the scheduled date of completion. Since there has been no delay on the part of contractors or organisations involved in the construction of the expressway, the NHAI has not imposed any fine on them till now, the RTI has revealed.
The entire project has been divided into four parts—Nizamuddin bridge to UP gate (8.7 km) which has already been completed in June last year; UP border to Dasna (18 km) which as of now is 53% complete and is on its way to be completed by 3 May 2020; Dasna to Hapur bypass (22 km), which has been 93% completed and is expected to be completed by the end of this month; the last part, Dasna to Meerut (22 km), is expected to be completed by 31 December 2019.
Interestingly, despite some of the parts of the project being upgraded from the originally planned six lanes to a more accommodating eight lanes, after the project was started, still, the project has faced no major delay.
Officials said that once this project is fully functional by May next year, the 70 km stretch between Delhi-Meerut, that takes almost 2.5 hours right now if the traffic is normal, will be reduced to just 45 minutes, saving million of rupees worth petrol and man hours.
The project was given an approval by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in July 2014 less than 100 days after Modi came to power. The estimated cost of the entire project is Rs 10,000 crore.
The project was first envisaged by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government in March 1999. However, the official decision to build it was announced in the February 2006 budget speech that was made by then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram with the expected completion date being set as December 2015.
However, it was not until July 2014 that it could be brought from the policy stage to the execution stage when Modi gave the approval for the project.