Who will build overbridges on expressway?

Monday morning’s accident near IFFCO Chowk on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway was another reminder of the danger pedestrians are exposed to on the hi-speed stretch.

Written by Tanushree Roy Chowdhury | Gurgaon | Published: January 20, 2009 12:14 am

Authorities say builder not doing enough despite high toll collection,firm says can’t do more

Monday morning’s accident near IFFCO Chowk on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway was another reminder of the danger pedestrians are exposed to on the hi-speed stretch. And the increasing traffic on the expressway adds to that hazard with lack of foot-overbridges or underpasses.

Officials of the operator,DS Constructions,say traffic has grown almost 42 per cent,against the projected 10-per cent growth,in the last 12 months since the expressway was inaugurated. And that has drawn the wrath of the authorities,who say the company should use the additional money collected from tolling to construct adequate infrastructure.

“Earnings on any day are more than what was estimated — DS Construction is earning almost four times than what was estimated in the initial contract,” District Commissioner Deepti Umashankar said on Monday. “But not much is being done to ensure safety (of pedestrians).” She had earlier issued notices to both the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI ) and DS Constructions on the need to ensure safety of road users.

But Sachin Sharma,vice-president of the Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited,said: “The estimated growth was around 1.3 lakh vehicles daily,which is around 1.7 lakh at present. As per the contract,we pay NHAI 50 per cent of the revenue collected from vehicles once the 1.3-lakh mark is crossed. This means we pay 50 per cent of the revenue we earn from 40,000 (additional) vehicles daily.”

Besides,Sharma said,the “discounts we offer to tag-users balance what we earn. We have built two overbridges on the Delhi side of the expressway and the NHAI is supposed to build five more on the stretch.”

Sharma said being a private company,it is “not our job to enforce law and order”.

V R Rahjawat of NHAI said: “We have written to the state government to notify the expressway so that defaulters can be challaned. We do not have statutory powers to impose any penalty,and neither does DS Constructions. But we have allotted work to construct a median fencing on the stretch. It will be two meters high and tamper-proof and will ensure pedestrians are discouraged to risk their lives by crossing the expressway.”

Till then,Rahjawat suggested,the traffic police can stop two-wheelers from entering the carriageway.

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