Irked by the long delay in the construction of the much touted Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway,which was scheduled for completion by July,2009 after construction commenced in July,2006,the Haryana government has now put its foot down and has asked the concessionaire to complete the work by the year-end.
It has also asked it to start the Manesar-Palwal section by April 15 as per the revised programme after a recent inspection conducted by Rajiv Arora,Managing Director of Haryana Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) the executing agency for the project.
Taking a serious view of the slow progress of the expressway,the government has decided to take action against the concessionaire by imposing penalties for the delay at the rate of 0.01 per cent of the total project cost per week or part thereof in accordance with the provisions under the agreement.
The 135-km expressway will have 302 culverts,12 minor bridges,five major bridges,61 pedestrian underpasses,31 cattle crossing underpasses,33 agricultural vehicular underpasses and four railway overbridges.
The initial project cost was estimated at Rs 1,200 crore. The concessionaire,however, has submitted a report claiming to have already spent Rs 1232.26 crore. The claim awaits authentication by the concurrent auditor of the HSIIDC. Besides,out of the total debt component of Rs 1,149 crore,the concessionaire has till date received three tranche of loans amounting to Rs 854 crore.
When contacted,Arora said the corporation was worried and monitoring the progress of the project. We will use all our resources to ensure that no more slackness hits the project and work carries on unabated resulting in its completion by December, he added.
The state government has also decided to put on record the delay in completing the project and to bring it to the notice of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,Monitoring Committee and the National Highways Authority of India. The penalty proposed has already been forwarded to the state government for necessary action, said a senior officer.
Much to the dismay of the Haryana government,a recent survey of the site had revealed that one third of the project is yet to be completed. The concessionaire had achieved 65.66 per cent physical progress of the project at a cost of Rs 972.44 crore by January 31,it stated.
After the state was convinced that the concessionaire would not be able to meet the deadline,it earmarked the Manesar-Palwal area as the priority section of the KMP Expressway (from 82.683 kms to 135.650 kms). After the recent inspection,the concessionaire has assured that this stretch will be operational by April 15.
The expressway was conceived to provide direct access to Gurgaon,Faridabad and Rajasthan to commuters from Punjab,Haryana,Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir without having to cross Delhi. The alignment of the expressway takes off from NH 1 near Kundli,crosses NH 10 at west of Bahadurgarh,crosses NH 8 near Manesar and finally joins NH 2 near Palwal. Hence,it will to touch four national highways without crossing Delhi.
As per the concession agreement,the total project cost was Rs 1,200 crore,excluding the cost of land. The appraisal report of debt syndicator,the SBI Caps Ltd of the concessionaire,the total project cost rose to Rs 1,915 crore,out of which,debt and equity amounted at Rs 1,149 crore and Rs 766 crore respectively.