Officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said that the authority cannot acquire land along the Dwarka Expressway, from the Delhi border to Kherki Daula, and transfer the same to the local authority for the construction of 30-metre roads on both sides of the highway.
The Gurugram Metropolitan Authority (GMDA) had proposed that the NHAI acquire the land and hand it over to the local agency. However, in a letter to GMDA, the NHAI stated that the mandate of the highways authority did now allow for the acquisition of the required parcels for the purpose.
“A proposal had come from the side of GMDA in January regarding the acquisition of land on both sides of the Dwarka Expressway and handing it over to GMDA for construction of access roads. This proposal was discussed by the authority and it became clear that NHAI could not hand over the land as it is not a land acquisition authority. We can acquire the land and build this road within a year but handing it over is not in our mandate,” said a senior NHAI official, privy to the matter, who wished anonymity.
NHAI officials said that service roads are crucial to provide access to commuters to the highway through the sector-dividing roads in developing sectors. A meeting on the acquisition of this land and the construction of access roads between the two agencies is scheduled for Friday.
NHAI officials said that access roads are required along the length of the expressway, as vehicles can’t move directly onto the main carriageways of the access-controlled highway. “Either the NHAI can acquire the land and build it or GMDA can acquire it and build it. We have received only ₹70 crore from the state government for land compensation, while the total amount is close to ₹270 crore,” an official familiar with the matter said.
A letter written by the NHAI to GMDA said in the last week of March said, “It is to submit that land is acquired by NHAI under the NH Act for building, maintaining and operation of national highways. There is no provision in the act for acquiring land to hand it over to state government for constructing their roads, which will be in contradiction to public purpose for which the acquisition is intended under the NH Act.”
The GMDA, which is the primary agency in the district for planning, developing and maintenance of key infrastructure, however, said that they were constructing a service utility duct on the acquired land but will not be able to comment further on this matter without looking into the details.
Jitendra Mittal, chief engineer (infrastructure), GMDA said, “We are undertaking the construction of a service utility duct on plots that have already been acquired. Apart from this, I would not be able to comment, without looking into the details.”
Last month, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari conducted a detailed inspection of the Dwarka Expressway project, accompanied by Gurugram Lok Sabha member (MP) Rao Inderjit Singh, and announced a deadline of August 15, 2022, for its completion.
The 29-kilometre-long Dwarka Expressway is being developed in four phases and it will connect Kherki Daula and Mahipalpur, in Delhi, on national highway 48 via Dwarka. It will also provide an extension to the IGI Airport through a tunnel. Phase three and four of the project, which fall in Gurugram, are expected to be completed by December 2021.