Friday, April 3, 2009

Badarpur Flyover to Miss Deadline

Project Not To Be Over By 2010 Games As DDA, NHAI Fight Over Land

Delhi’s signal-free link to Faridabad might miss the 2010 Commonwealth Games deadline as the land-owning agency in the Capital, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) bicker over how land for the project is to be handed over and also over the compensation rates.

The NHAI, in fact, is now coming dangerously close to paying a fine to the concessionaire of the project for its failure to hand over about one-third of the land needed by March 22 as per the concession agreement signed between the Authority and Badarpur Faridabad Tollway Ltd (BFTL).

NHAI officials said though the rest of the land has been handed over, what remains is more crucial since the interchange for Mehrauli will come up on this portion. ‘‘If we don’t hand over the land in the next one week, we will not only pay a hefty fine but also miss the Games deadline,’’ said a senior NHAI official who wished to remain anonymous.

The elevated corridor, to be built on a BOT basis, will be a crucial link between Delhi and Faridabad and also play a key role in easing the traffic flow to Agra during the Games. Since heavy tourist movement to Taj Mahal in Agra is being anticipated during the Games, both Delhi Tourism and UP government are planning to ply special luxury buses on this stretch.

The 4.4-km, signal-free highway project, which includes a 3 km long six-lane elevated highway, was originally scheduled to be completed by December 2010 but was expected to be expedited to catch the Games rush in October. ‘‘Considering the importance of the link, it was added to the list of Games related projects for early completion by September/October,’’ said the NHAI official.

Sources said the dispute that was jeopardizing timely completion of the project was raised at the monitoring committee meeting chaired by the Delhi chief secretary on Wednesday.

NHAI had issued a notification for acquiring the land under Section 3A of the NH Act in 2007 but DDA says under its rules and norms, it can only lease out the land as it has done in the case of Delhi Metro for its Badarpur extension.

Moreover, NHAI wants to pay the compensation as per the 2007 rate while DDA is insisting on 2009 rates, said a senior DDA official. It has offered to give advance possession of the land provided the NHAI agrees to give an undertaking to pay the revised compensation which is yet to be finalized.

‘‘It’s a legal handicap for the NHAI and the DDA is not agreeing to the NHAI condition, causing a deadlock,’’ said the NHAI official.

The project has already been delayed several times. Though the Haryana government gave the clearance in 2006, Delhi government and Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) cleared it only in January last year.

The proposed road will start near NTPC, Badarpur, and end near Sector-37 crossing in Faridabad. It will do away with all the seven junctions on this stretch.

The Project In Figures

  • Length of signal free toll road: 4.4 km
  • Cost of project: Rs 340 cr
  • Vehicles taking the road: Approx 1 lakh passenger car units (PCUs)
  • Traffic that can pay toll: Approx 68,000
  • Project Deadline: Oct 2010
  • Concession Period: 20 years

Cause of Delay

Approx 1/3 of land yet to be handed over to developer. Deadline for hand-over of land was March 22, ’09