The Supreme Court, on February 7, 2018, asked the centre to apprise it about the ‘correct position’ of dates of completion of the ongoing construction of the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways, which are aimed at decongesting Delhi’s traffic. A bench, comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, made the observation after it was apprised about the ‘discrepancies’ on the dates of completion of the construction work. While the 135-km-long Eastern Peripheral Expressway envisages signal-free connectivity between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar (Greater Noida) and Palwal, the 135-km long Western Peripheral Expressway connects Kundli to Palwal via Manesar in Haryana.
Advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the court as an amicus curiae, referred to a recent report of a committee and said there were some discrepancies, about completion of the ongoing work for both the expressways. She said that both the expressways were expected to be made open for public in April 2018 and the authorities should file an affidavit about it. When the bench made a query in this regard, additional solicitor general ANS Nadkarni said that he would take instructions on the issue and get back to the court. The bench asked Nadkarni to take instructions and give the correct position within two weeks. The court also asked the Haryana government to file an affidavit, about the status of the Western Peripheral Expressway.
In December 2017, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had informed the apex court that hurdles in the construction of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, were resolved in a ‘satisfactory manner’ in Uttar Pradesh. The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier informed the top court that work on a 25-km stretch of the under-construction Eastern Peripheral Expressway in Ghaziabad, which was stalled following protests by farmers, had resumed.
The court, which has been hearing a 1985 plea, filed by environmentalist MC Mehta on various issues including vehicular pollution, had asked the centre in 2005 to build a peripheral expressway around Delhi by July 2016, to decongest and de-pollute the national capital. The two expressways were planned in 2006, following the top court’s order to form a ring road outside the national capital, for channeling non-Delhi bound traffic, bypassing the city.