The Supreme Court, on October 18, 2019, directed the Delhi government to release Rs 1,000 crores, out of its pending share of Rs 3,577.52 crores, as cost of land acquisition for the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways aimed at decongesting traffic in the national capital. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta perused a report filed before it by a committee, which raised the issue of pending share of the governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, towards the cost of land acquisition for the two expressways.
Senior advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the pollution matter, referred to the contents of the report, which said the initial cost of land acquisition for both expressways was Rs 844 crores, which later escalated to Rs 8,462.03 crores. The report said the share already deposited was Rs 3,585.42 crores, while the amount which is yet to be deposited was Rs 4,876.61 crores. Singh said as per the report of the cabinet secretary, which was accepted by the apex court in February 2005, the cost of land acquisition is to be borne by the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in proportion of 50:25:25, respectively.
The Delhi government has to deposit Rs 3,577.52 crores, while the Uttar Pradesh government has to deposit Rs 1,218.12 crores, for cost of land acquisition for the project. Taking the report, as well as the submissions advanced by the amicus into account, the bench asked the Delhi government to release Rs 1,000 crores for it. While the Eastern Peripheral Expressway envisages signal-free connectivity between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar (Greater Noida) and Palwal, the Western Peripheral Expressway connects Kundli to Palwal via Manesar in Haryana. Both are 135 kms each.
HC seeks NHAI’s reply, on plea for basic amenities on Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways
The Delhi HC has sought a response from the NHAI and HSIIDC, on a petition that sought a direction to the authorities, to provide basic facilities on the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways
April 25, 2019: The Delhi High Court, on April 24, 2019, sought the response of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), on a plea to ensure basic amenities, including toilets, petrol pumps, ambulance and emergency facilities, on the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways. A bench of chief justice Rajendra Menon and justice AJ Bhambhani issued notices to the NHAI and the HSIIDC, on the petition and listed the matter for further hearing on August 26, 2019.
The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate and social activist Amit Sahni that said no such facilities were available on the Western Peripheral Expressway or Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway, which was made operational about two years ago, although thousands of vehicles cross it daily and pay the toll. The plea, however, said some of the facilities were available on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway or Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal (KGP) Expressway, which was inaugurated by the prime minister in November 2018.
It sought a direction to the authorities, to ensure basic amenities like petrol pumps, toilet complex, ambulance and emergency facilities, eateries and police patrolling on both, KMP and KGP expressways. “Directions may kindly be passed that the wayside amenities be integrally planned and developed, along with national highways and such amenities be made operational by the respondent (NHAI) for all its future projects, before the commencement of toll collection on all such highways, in order to ensure safety and security of the commuters,” it said. The plea mentioned that other national highways, which are connected to Delhi, have basic facilities like helplines for crane, ambulance, route patrols, emergency services, police stations and hospitals. The petitioner said he made a representation to the NHAI on April 1 but till date, no action had been taken, after which he approached the high court.
The KMP Expressway is an operational six-lane (three lanes in each direction), 135.6-km-long expressway in Haryana. Both the expressways were constructed with an expectation to divert more than 50,000 heavy vehicles from Delhi, to help maintain good air quality in Delhi. The two expressways complete the largest ring road around Delhi. Each of the 10 entries and exits are tolled and the rates, notified in December 2018, are Rs 1.35 per km for cars, Rs 2.18 per km for light motor vehicles and Rs 4.98 per km for trucks and buses. Two-wheelers are not permitted on the expressways, the plea said.