SC takes exception to tardy progress of Peripheral Expressways

The Supreme Court,which in 2005 gave a nod to the Rs 3,657-crore expressway around Delhi,on Friday expressed annoyance that work has slowed down,virtually stopped on both the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways.

Written by Tannu Sharma | New Delhi | Published:January 10, 2009 12:53 am

The Supreme Court,which in 2005 gave a nod to the Rs 3,657-crore expressway around Delhi,on Friday expressed annoyance that work has slowed down,virtually stopped on both the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways.

Senior advocate Harish Salve told the three-member special bench,headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan,how only 10 per cent of the work has been completed so far,when it should have been close to completion on the Western Peripheral Expressway.

Reading from the status report filed by the court-appointed Monitoring Committee,the senior advocate assisting the bench as an amicus curiae said,“The Concessionaire has achieved a progress of 10.6 per cent against a target of 61.78 per cent up to October 31,2008.”

For the 135.65 km long Western Expressway,the work was awarded on a BOT (build,operate and transfer) basis to M/S KMP Expressway Limited — a Special Purpose Vehicle formed by Madhucon,Apollo and DS Constructions.

While the work was awarded on November 14,2005,it has now proposed July 29,2009 as the deadline for completion of the expressway.

Asking how it would meet its now-revised deadline of 29 July 2009,the amicus (counsel assisting the court) even raised doubts about completion of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway in the near future.

Pointing to fears raised by Bhure Lal,a member of EPCA,the senior counsel told the Bench,also comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia,that because of tardy progress in the work of both the expressways,over a million transit vehicles were crossing into the Capital,adding to pollution and traffic.

After being informed by another counsel,W A Qadri that work got slowed owing to some litigations entered into by few of the contractors,the Bench remarked,“The contract has not been cancelled,so the contractor who was awarded is still under obligation to complete the work on time.”

Taking exception to delays in the execution of the project,the bench ordered the State of UP and Haryana to file status reports with regard to both the Expressway projects.

In 2005,the apex court gave a green signal to the expressway around Delhi to ease traffic and stop heavy trucks going to other states from passing through the Capital.

While giving directions for the completion of the project at the earliest,the bench then remarked the project was one of “national interest”.

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