CHANDIGARH: Concessionaire of the proposed four-laning of Panchkula-Yamunanagar section of national highway 73 allotted the much-awaited widening work of one of the most accident prone roads of Haryana, has offered to quit the project on account of inordinate delay in necessary clearances by the state government.
The central government in 2009 approved the four-laning of the 104 km stretch of NH-73. Tenders for the construction were allotted in July 2013. A sum of Rs 935 crore was expected to be incurred on the project, which was targeted to be completed in three years.
In its communication sent to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on December 12 last year, the concessionaire, Yamunanagr-Panchkula Highway Limited, has requested for mutually foreclosing the project due to non-availability of right of way to the site and environment and forest clearance to the project (eco-sensitive zone and wildlife sanctuary). The concessionaire said despite 18 months after signing the agreement, the availability of land was critically lacking for the project. According to them, out of the total around 104 km length of the proposed project, the government could provide 28 km clear length, while 14 km could not be made available on account of structures, trees standing on the land, 42 km due to forest area and 19 km due to wildlife and eco-sensitive zone. While requesting for amicably closure of the project on mutually agreed terms, the concessionaire has informed NHAI that the delay in the project has put them in financial strain and time required for completion of balance clearance will lead to added financial burden and clearances.
However, after receiving no response from the NHAI, the concessionaire has served a notice on January 31 to the authorities for the closure of the project.
When contacted, the NHAI said considering the concessionaire's notice for closure, they have written a letter to the Haryana chief secretary informing that the notice of closure of the project was a serious issue and in that event, the development of the state would be adversely affected.
Sharply reacting to the development, Shivalik Vikas Manch president Vijay Bansal said that it was very unfortunate if the four-laning of this stretch was cancelled because it was the need of the hour on account of it being a single road and one of the most accident prone stretches. "The government remained seated on clearance because of absence of political will. Had it been a housing project, the state would have been the first to grant all clearances," Bansal added.