December 23, 2013
Himansshu Bhatt,TNN |
The project has been envisaged as the vehicle population in the city, which is 22 lakh at present, is likely to double by 2020. Also, 20,000 vehicles come in and go out of the city daily. All these vehicles pass through the city roads to reach the National Highway from Kamrej to Kadodara.
The project will be undertaken on Build, Operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) basis. There will be no financial burden either on the SMC or the state government. SMC and Surat Urban Development Authority(SUDA) will have to give only right of way to the contractor who builds the facility. He will collect toll from the passing vehicles to recover the cost of the project.
“We need a link way that facilitates people from all sides to go out and enter the city without any interruption. The express link way can help us on this count,” said Jatin Shah, city engineer, SMC.
This express link way would be linked to roads emerging from Rander, Athwa, Puna, Varachha and the Ring Road.
“We are looking at the link road as an extension to the Outer Ring Road,” said Manoj Das, municipal commissioner, Surat.
The road and building department of the state government is studying the feasibility of the project. SMC will make financial provision in its budget for the year 2014-15 only to initiate the process, sources said.
November 19, 2013
Harish Joshi, TNN |
On Monday, large number of people gathered at Zadeshwar toll tax plaza demanding abolishing the tax with immediate affect. They said that the tax collection is badly affecting the traffic movement.
Bharuch MLA Dushyant Patel, who is lead the agitation, asked the toll tax contractor to stop collecting tax till new bridge is constructed on Narmada. Daily commuters and people gathered to protest peacefully. The computer and other accessories from toll counters were removed by the contractor and informed National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials about demand of people.
Several NGOs under the banner of Bharuch Citizen Council also joined movement.
“Large number travelers get stranded on the highway for for hours in massive traffic jam due to toll tax plaza near Zadeshwar. The tax collection period was over in December 2012 and only one track is operational as old Sardar Bridge declared as non operational. Despite there being no need of tax collection, the time limit was extended till March 2014. The toll plaza itself is big obstacle in traffic movement hence it is in the interest of people to remove the same and stop tolll collection,” he said. N K Patel of Bharuch Citizens Council said, “NHAI officials and politicians are not sensitive enough about this burning issue. They don’t care for the people suffering in traffic and this has led to a movement to remove toll tax.”
Irrespective of political parties, we are going to ask for a time-bound program of construction of damaged bridges near Golden Bridge and Sardar bridge.”
October 23, 2013
Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |
The NHAI board, which has members from three different departments and ministries, felt suspension of toll collection would kill the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model for road construction and would also go against “contract conditions”.
The board met on Tuesday to decide on several items relating to highway projects including this case. “NHAI had put the toll suspension proposal to bring relief to commuters during delayed construction phase. But the decision had to be taken by the board. Now the authority will serve notice to the private contractor and if fails to meet the targets, NHAI can take over the project,” said a government official.
In that case, the project will come back to NHAI and it will have the tolling right. Sources said this provision is clearly mentioned in the concession agreement and it should be “implemented”. The authority in its original proposal had pitched for toll suspension citing that even if NHAI charges toll, there will be no relief to road users.
“Since there is huge investment of banks and financial institutions, suspending toll collection will have severe implications on the sector as a whole. After taking over the project, NHAI can pay back the loan,” an official said. He added that NHAI will take up regular maintenance and full development of the project.
Those who favoured this decision felt NHAI could push the pace of construction by putting a large portion of the total toll collection in project work. At present, NHAI gets 52% share of the toll collected. Officials said to pump more funds for faster construction, NHAI can defer taking this revenue share.
Although Tuesday’s decision comes as a blow to commuters using this stretch, in case of future six-laning projects, tolling will be suspended in case developers fail to meet the deadline. This decision was taken recently by the Cabinet.
October 19, 2013
NEW DELHI: A month after National Highways Authority of India moved a proposal to suspend tolling on the Gurgaon-Jaipur stretch, the authority’s board is likely to consider the plan on Tuesday. The board has representation from highways and finance ministries besides the Planning Commission.Sources said the proposal was included in the agenda since the road transport and highways ministry had advised NHAI to first take the matter to the board. The ministry was of the opinion that suspension of toll till expansion work was completed would impact finances of the project and the issue should be considered in detail by the board. “Once the board approves the proposal, the matter will be referred to the highways ministry for order,” a source said.
NHAI in its earlier note to the ministry sought in-principle approval to suspend toll on all delayed projects where tolling was allowed even during construction phase. It had cited the example of the Gurgaon-Jaipur stretch of NH-8 where widening work missed several deadlines. TOI had run a series of articles highlighting commuters’ woes, who not only pay toll but also face traffic jams.
NHAI had said that in case private developers fail to maintain the stretches properly and miss completion targets despite land availability, the authority was empowered to take over the stretch and collect toll. But since this would not bring relief to road users, who would still have to pay toll for travelling through substandard and congested stretches, NHAI suggested stopping toll collection as a deterrent for consistent defaulters. “Since the contract agreement does not have a provision of suspending toll, we have sought permission from the ministry. This is a public interest issue,” an NHAI official had told TOI. Among other works that have missed several deadlines is the Panipat-Jalandhar six-laning project.
September 26, 2013
JAIPUR: In an attempt to expedite the widening of Jaipur-Delhi highway and break the deadlock between National Highways Authority of India and Rajasthan government, chief secretary CK Mathew will hold a review meeting on Tuesday.
Facing the wrath of public over constant delay and dilapidated condition of NH-8, the state government and NHAI will look for available options. The meeting has been convened after governor Margaret Alva too expressed her displeasure over the current situation.
Relocation of several religious structures from demolishing of building that are coming on the way remains a point of tussle between the two stakeholders. Tuesday’s meeting is an effort from the CS to clear the air between two and bring them on same platform.
“There has been constant support from the state government except on two-three points. We will sit and discuss on how to resolve those points and go ahead,” said the senior official of NHAI.
Gurgaon’s highways to hell: How Millennium City’s pot-holed roads pose a hazard to helpless commuters
September 18, 2013
By AJAY KUMAR
It is touted as the Millennium City, but the condition of the roads leading to Gurgaon is no less than deplorable. The pothole-riddled stretches, which are covered with slush, stones and dust, pose safety hazards to regular commuters who endure torment-filled drives every day.
The slow pace of traffic owing to dilapidated roads adds to the woes of motorists during peak hours. The worst affected include Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, thanks to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), which is known for its lackadaisical attitude to maintaining roads.
The stretch between Delhi-Gurgaon commercial toll plaza and Sahara mall in Gurgaon is also in a mess. Commuters are being forced to ride their vehicles at a snail’s pace, leading to traffic snarls in the mornings and evenings. Moreover, a lot of diversions and U-turns put more pressure on them.
The commuters, who travel from Mehrauli and Chattarpur to Gurgaon, also face a bumpy ride on the stretch as they enter Delhi border.
Progressive Alliance Forum (PAF) – a citizen body in Gurgaon – has complained to the Haryana government about the dilapidated condition of the roads. The forum alleges that the HUDA did not have a futuristic vision while laying roads. Experts believe that deterioration takes place since the roads lack a strong base.
The companies have not createda strong base before building upper layers, the forum said.
“HUDA is not competent enough to take care of the roads. We complained to the state government in February, urging it to award contracts for road maintenance and construction to expert companies. The state government has given the road repairing-cum-widening job to bridges and roads wing of the PWD – a specialist in constructing highways,” PAF president Raman Sharma.
The agencies in Gurgaon do not carry out surveys – a mandatory procedure – before constructing roads. A survey is carried out to examine soil condition and materials used to lay the roads.
Even roads built using high-end technology deteriorate quickly because of the poor drainage system. For instance, the M.G Road in old Gurgaon is also in a shambles owing to the lack of good drainage system.
“Poor drainage system is deteriorating the condition of the road. We have directed engineers of our department to repair the road as soon as possible,” said a HUDA official.
Besides this, the Cyber City Road which connects Sikandarpur Metro station with NH 8, and roads that lead to DLF phase 3 are pothole-ridden. Road widening work being carried out between Sikanderpur Metro station and NH 8 also add to commuters’ woes.
Repair work on the Old Delhi Road between Udyog Vihar and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd Sector 18 plant has also stopped as both HUDA and Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon are engaged in a spat. One side of the road has been in a messy condition, leading to traffic snarls.
Old Delhi Road has significance as it connects posh Palam Vihar with Kapashera border in Delhi. According to sources, repair work on the road has been going on for more than six months.
September 17, 2013
PRANAB SAIKIA, TNN
“Traffic jams are a routine affair. There is no bus stand and buses halt dangerously on the highway. The road is accident-prone,” said Om Prakash, former sarpanch, Manesar village.
When TOI contacted NHAI, a spokesperson said, “We are looking at the feasibility of constructing a flyover at the stretch.”
Points to note
There more 35 thousand people live in Manesar. They are all affected due to the open road without any flyover
On an average two accidents happen on the stretch every month, according to the sources from Gurgaon traffic police
September 17, 2013
By PTI |
Following an inspection of the site, Fernandes held a meeting with district officials, Gurgaon police and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) representatives.
Badshahpur MLA Rao Dharampal told Fernandes about the problems being faced by people from mainly the five villages of Khandsa, Naharpur, Kherki, Narsingpur and Khatola.
The cremation ground for these villages was on the other side of the National Highway and the villagers had to face great hardships in cremating the dead. In the scenario, a flyover at Honda Chowk was the only solution, the MLA added.
Fernandes assured the villagers that by the end of this month he would meet Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to arrive at a concrete solution in the matter.
September 12, 2013
“In our meeting with the state government earlier, we expressed our inability to continue with the original scope of work. We have delinked 17 structures from the project and will take them up later based on availability of land. This will allow us to focus on other portions where land is available and complete them at the earliest ,” a senior official of NHAI said.
The delinking will have its impact on nearly 8-10 km of the stretch where it will have rough patch while the rest of the route can be expected to be smooth. Highlighting the need for taking such a decision, A K Mishra, regional manager of NHAI, said, “Our aim is to provide clear passage to the commuters so that they face minimum inconvenience and enjoy their ride between Jaipur and Delhi. Restructuring will also give us room to carry forward the work in areas where it can be done at the earliest and coming on other portions later.”
The meeting held on Tuesday between officials of the state government and NHAI too resolved down several contentious issues. The state government has allowed the developer to carry out work at Sanjay Van and also agreed to shift two HT lines from the Jaipur bypass.
On the insistence of the state government, NHAI assured to construct the 12 government buildings which will demolished for the project. It also assured of taking up of maintenance work on the diversion if the concessionaire fails to complete it in 60 days of time.
However, nodecision was made on the issue of charging toll tax in the wake of incomplete work on the road.
The matter has been kept in abeyance and will be discussed later.
August 26, 2013
Rumu Banerjee & Durgesh Nandan Jha, TNN | Aug 24, 2013, 02.27 AM IST
A nightmare awaited us at Paota, 173km from Delhi. A small town, it’s a halting point for private vehicles and trucks. Two flyovers are being constructed here, within 5km of each other. There are diversions but no signages. Vehicles have to be carefully manoeuvred around waterlogged potholes with deceptive depths. Slow moving vehicles hold up traffic even as shops and other commercial outlets come in the way. Ramavtar Singh, traffic-in-charge at Paota, says, “The village population has increased and the local traffic often spills over to the highway. On weekends, after 1.30pm, vehicles barely move along this stretch. Accidents are also common.”
Luckily for us, it was a Monday and we had crossed Paota before the trucks took over. With some luck, we managed to cross Kotputli in 20 minutes but the good feeling didn’t last long. Behror, located 133km from Delhi, was a killjoy. It is bigger than Paota and a midway point. Three consecutive flyovers – all under construction – have turned the stretch into an obstacle course.
The absence of a proper road for those on the way from Delhi to Jaipur to go to the midway means that all such vehicles – cars, buses, motorcycles and trucks – take a slip road below the flyover, that is an uneven stretch with large boulders, to go to the other side. They, obviously, then come in conflict with the traffic coming from the Jaipur side. Getting through this stretch took us more than half-an-hour. By this time, it was dark and we were praying for beating therush of trucks.
But trouble loomed ahead as we reached Neemrana – hundreds of trucks had taken over the road, several just parked on the wayside. The service lane seemed to be our only hope but it didn’t go all the way, forcing us back into the impregnable phalanx of trucks. The bustling industrial areas of Neemrana were, meanwhile, disgorging their own vehicles on to the road.
It was 7.30pm and Gurgaon was still 90km and two toll booths (Manesar and Gurgaon) away. The highway was illuminated only by the headlights of the vehicles and we had to constantly watch out for potholes and craters. At Asalwas, the lack of signages ensured that we almost missed a diversion, since only half the flyover had been completed and that too was closed. Now we were just weaving around trucks as if in a videogame.
At Dharuhera, things took a downward spiral. Many trucks were stuck, some having broken down along the way. The traffic just grew and grew with the Sohna road joining NH-8 at this point. Heavy waterlogging had only worsened the situation. Rooted to one spot for 45 minutes, we saw no hope. Our car, an Etios, swerved into a service lane when suddenly the SUV in front seemed to tilt very sharply. At the end of the lane was a massive crater. The SUV survived it and we simply prayed. Ten minutes and some gentle steering later, we had passed the test. Not yet. Over the next hour-and-half, Bilaspur and Manesar came back to haunt us.
By the time we reached the Manesar toll booth, it was 11pm and there was a long line of trucks and other vehicles. We spent 15 minutes here and were ready for more ahead. Miraculously, the traffic seemed to get better as we approached the Gurgaon toll booth. We reached Delhi at midnight.