New Delhi: Recovering from the Covid induced slowdown, work on three greenfield expressways — the 1,350 km Delhi-Mumbai stretch, 300 km Ambala-Kotputli and the 1,000 km Amritsar-Jamnagar stretch — is gaining momentum again, with the highways ministry targeting to complete the first two by March 2022, senior road ministry officials have told ThePrint. These two projects entail an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore.
The third greenfield expressway between Amritsar and Jamnagar, entailing an investment of Rs 25,000 crore, will be completed by March 2023.
All the three expressways will be access controlled and part of an economic corridor. “Once completed, they would give a big fillip to the economy in the region,” a senior road ministry official said.
Ministry officials said the Delhi-Mumbai expressway is likely to be completed first. “Work has started in full swing. We are hopeful that the first two stretches of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway spanning 300 km will be ready by December 2021,” Highways Secretary Giridhar Armane told ThePrint.
The two stretches are between Sohna-Jaipur and Vadodra-Kim (Gujarat). Armane added that majority of the land acquisition for the Delhi-Mumbai expressway project has been completed.
Work divided into packages
The entire 1,350 km stretch of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway has been divided into 44 packages. Of this, the ministry has already awarded work in 38 packages.
All the 10 packages of the Ambala-Kotputli expressway have also been awarded while 26 of the 33 packages of the Amritsar-Jamnager expressway have been awarded.
“The remaining packages will be awarded in January,” said an official of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The NHAI is implementing all the three projects.
The three expressways are part of the highways ministry’s ambitious plan to build 22 greenfield expressways at a cost of Rs 3.10 lakh crore.
Response from private developers continue to be lukewarm
Despite work picking up pace, response from private highway developers continues to be lukewarm. For instance, in the Delhi-Mumbai expressway project, of the 44 packages only 13 have been awarded under the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM), a public-private partnership where the government pays 40 per cent of the capital during the construction period while the developers invest the remaining 60 per cent.
The remaining packages have been awarded under EPC (Engineering Procurement Construction) mode, where the government funds the entire project cost.
Similarly, on the Ambala-Kotputli expressway, 8 out of the 10 packages have been awarded under the EPC mode while on the Amritsar-Jamnagar expressway all 26 packages awarded have been in the EPC mode.