It’s free-for-all on Delhi- Gurgaon e-way lanes

September 9, 2013

Deevakar Anand and Leena Dhankhar, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon,


Confusion over the speed limit on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has made it one of the most dangerous stretches in the National Capital Region (NCR). Surprisingly, the controlled-access expressway has two different speed limits for its Delhi and Gurgaon stretches. Nearly 430 commuters have lost their lives on the 18-kilometre portion of the expressway in Gurgaon since it inaugurated in January 2008, according to data available with the Gurgaon traffic police. Officials said the number of fatalities would be much higher if accidents that occurred on the remaining 10-km stretch of the expressway, that falls in Delhi, is included in the death toll.

Experts blame the lack of lane driving and minimal enforcement of speed limits by authorities as the main reason for the high number of casualties. The lack of clarity about speed limits on the highway is also another grey area.

While the Delhi stretch has the maximum speed limit of 70 kilometre per hour for light motor vehicles, it is 80 kilometre per hour in Gurgaon. “We had suggested authorities to have a uniform speed limit along the entire stretch of the expressway. However, these speed limits were finally decided by the traffic authorities of the respective states,” said a spokesperson of the toll operator Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL). Bharti Arora, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Gurgaon, claimed her department did not have a role in deciding the speed limits on national highways. The risk of accidents goes up manifold as cars and buses run at an average speed of 100 kmph on the expressway, while there is no check on slow-moving vehicles such as two- wheelers and autos.


(The speed limit for light motor vehicles is 70kmph on the Delhi stretch of the e-way near Mahipalpur. HT photo)


On the issue of lax nforcement of speed limits and lane discipline, Arora said the traffic department has been prompt and regular in penalising offenders.


(On the Gurgaon stretch signages display a speed limit of 80 kmph near South City. HT photo)

Speed limit should not cross 60 kmph in city: Rohit Baluja

There is total confusion over speed limits on highways across the country and the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, which is part of National Highway-8, is no exception.Under the Motor Vehicles Act, speed limits have to be notified by the government. In case of the Gurgaon expressway, I am curious how they derived the speed limit of 70 kilometres per hour and 80 kilometres per hour for the Delhi and Gurgaon stretches, respectively. The speed limits on highways and other roads ideally have to be decided on the basis of traffic engineering norms. According to this, the speed limit can be 15% less than the average speed of vehicles moving on that stretch.  I doubt if the factors of traffic engineering have been considered while deciding the speed limit on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. Other factors that need to be taken into account for fixing a speed limit are the presence of junctions, petrol stations, pedestrian crossings, blind turns etc. Technically, there cannot be a fixed uniform speed on the entire stretch. Considering the facts that the Gurgaon expressway meanders through the heart of the city, has several exit points and slow moving two-wheelers and three-wheelers share the same space, the speed limit should not be more than 60 kilometre per hour instead of the present 80 kilometre per hour. Looking at the number of fatal accidents that have occurred on the stretch, the traffic police, toll operator or other agencies on behalf of the local authority should enforce speed limits strictly.

(Rohit Baluja, president, Institute of Road Traffic Education, Delhi)




Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway likely to miss May 31 deadline

June 19, 2013


Aditya Dev, TNN | May 27, 2013, 02.18 AM IST

GURGAON: The Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway is likely to miss the deadline of May 31, 2013 set for completing the entire 135-km project. So far the overall physical progress for the project is about 70%, even as the priority stretch between Manesar and Palwal is 85% complete. While HSIIDC says there is no such legitimate impediments exists as on today, the concessionaire, DSC Ltd, claims unavailability of land as well as delay in approvals to implement change of scope for not completing the project on time.
Surprisingly, there has been no change in the stance of the concessionaire since last year as far as the physical progress of the project, whether it is the entire stretch or the priority stretch, is concerned. The concessionaire has been quoting the same figures of 70% and 85% for the entire project and the priority stretch respectively for the last one year.

The information received under an RTI application revealed that between January and March 2013, the project made a meager 0.17% progress. In fact, collating this information with another RTI reply reveals the apathy of the concessionaire in completing the project. The KMP project has made a dismal 1.2% physical progress between June, 2012 and March 2013. Likewise, it had made just 4.46% during the year between July 2011 and July 2012.

This information has been revealed in the RTI replies to a Gurgaon resident, Aseem Takyar, an RTI activist. Takyar has asked HSIIDC to provide monthly completion report of the project.

Another important query was the estimated time for the completion of the entire project. HSIIDC replied that as per the assurance given by the concessionaire, the project will be completed by May 31 2013.

However, when contacted, a spokesperson for KMP Expressways Ltd, gave various reasons for the slow progress of the project. The KMP expressway Ltd is the concessionaire of which DSC Ltd is the main partner.

The concessionaire had made the commitment at a meeting in Delhi on June 8, 2012 between chief ministers of Haryana and Delhi, to open the Manesar-Palwal section for tolling within the next 90 to 120 days and complete the expressway by May 31, 2013.

The overall physical progress for the entire project is about 70%. The approvals for the change of scope claims are still awaited and funds are yet to be released to the concessionaire which is causing some delay in the project. Regarding this issue, the arbitration clause has been invoked so that there can be a speedy agreement on the amount of funds payable to the concessionaire due to the change of scope of the project. A fast track Arbitration Settlement could actually help in the progress of the project, informed the spokesperson.

There have been a lot of design changes in major and minor structures directed by the client which has led to the change of scope of work. We have provided the full detailed break-up of the change of scope work along with the costs to the client for approval, added the spokesperson.

For the delay in completion of the Manesar-Palwal stretch, the spokesperson said the work had been held up because there is a section of around a km in the Nuh area where the road is still to be built as the land around that area has not yet been handed over to us free of encumbrances. Once this land is made available to us, we would need about three months to build the road on this section and lay the top layer for the entire priority stretch and complete it.

The HSIIDC has been made executing agency for developing the Kundli-Manesar Palwal Expressway (Western Peripheral Expressway around Delhi) by the Haryana government. The expressway is being developed on build-operate-transfer (BOT) and zero-grant basis, with a concession period of 23 years and nine months, including three years of construction period. The date of start of the project was July 31, 2006. The scheduled date of completion of construction was July 29, 2009.

The project involves construction of 47 underpasses, 31 cattle crossings, 61 pedestrian crossings, 33 agriculture vehicles overpasses, 26 bridges, 4 railway overbridges and 3 grade separators at NH 1, NH 10 and NH 8. The project would allow heavy and commercial vehicles to completely bypass the Delhi NCR region thereby decongesting traffic within the capital.



The bicycle diaries: These residents drive home the green message

June 18, 2013

Hindustan Times  Gurgaon,

(Over 250 cyclists comprising of government officials, students, teachers, cycling enthusiasts and civic groups converged in Gurgaon to make the city bike-friendly. Students, government officials, teachers, cycling enthusiasts, civic groups cycled to create awareness about alternative transport systems.The Non-Motorised Transport group organised a ‘Walk to Work’ campaign in association with NASSCOM, in Gurgaon, India. HT photo/Manoj Kumar -HT Photo/Manoj Kumar)


For a city that is synonymous with expressways, high-end vehicles and fatal accidents, the idea of a dedicated cycle track was unheard of till some time back.

But that was before a quaint group of enlightened residents had joined hands to form a Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) group.

The group has been instrumental in urging the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) to work on a comprehensive NMT plan for Gurgaon with dedicated cycle and pedestrian tracks.

 It works with the vision to provide equitable road space to pedestrians, cyclists and other users in the Millennium City.

Since the latter half of 2011, this group has been conducting unique events to create a pedestrian and cyclists-friendly city.

The 500-member public group last month organised a unique ‘Walk to Work’ initiative in collaboration with industry body Nasscom where CEOs walked to their offices from the nearest Metro station instead of taking their cars.

“Thankfully, the NMT idea has now percolated into the minds of the city authorities. The city will set a positive example for the rest of the country if the plan gets the green signal,” Nisha Singh, a city councillor and one of the key group members.

The group also introduced Gurgaon to Columbia’s Ciclovia concept where roads are partly barricaded to stop the entry of motor vehicles so that cyclists and pedestrians can have a free and safe experience.

In an event in April at Leisure Valley Grounds, some of the most powerful men in Gurgaon — the Huda administrator, the municipal commissioner and the police commissioner – also took to the humble cycle.
















Soon, rent a cycle at Gurgaon Metro stations

June 18, 2013


Deevakar Anand, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon,

In an environment-friendly move, bicycles would soon be available on rent  at the Huda City Centre Metro station.

A senior official of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), which has planned 30 cycle  shelters across Gurgaon, said that the service at the Huda Metro station will start first in a fortnight.

Initially, the service will be launched at the five Metro stations — Huda City Centre, Iffco Chowk, MG Road, Sikanderpur and Guru Dronacharya.

 Twenty-five more shelters will come up at various other locations later, including the upcoming Rapid Metro stations, malls, hospitals, important roads and roundabouts. Besides, one such shelter will also be set up at Ayanagar on the Gurgaon-Delhi border.

“A commuter can hire cycles at these shelters against fixed charges and on submission of an identity proof. While the first two hours will cost R10, the subsequent hours will cost R5 extra for each hour. The user will have to submit the original copy of an ID proof, preferably government documents. The service will be available from 9am to 8pm, but one can keep the cycle overnight at an extra charge of R100,” said Sudhir Haryal, promoter of Planet Advertising, the firm that will run the cycle shelters.

While such services are very popular near Metro stations in Delhi and have huge takers among students of Delhi University’s north campus, Gurgaon residents have long been demanding such non-motorised transport infrastructure in the city.


Police to install CCTVs at four key intersections

June 18, 2013

Leena Dhankhar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi,


To enhance surveillance, Gurgaon police have decided to install CCTV cameras at four major intersections of the Millennium City in 15 days. The move came after the recent spate of robberies at these junctions. The four crossings to come under round-the-clock surveillance are Iffco Chowk, MG Road Metro Station, Huda City Metro Station and Iffco Chowk Metro Station. Iffco Chowk will be the first location where cameras will be installed.


According to police, robberies involving cabbie gangs are on the rise. In a 10-part series, HT had highlighted the plight of commuters who become soft targets of such gangs.


The joint commissioner of police directed ACP Bhupinder Singh to initiate the work on the project. After the cameras are installed, police will be able to check suspicious activities.


Joint commissioner of police Maheshwar Dayal told HT: “The initiative will ensure safety and security of commuters. The cameras would record all incidents of robbery, theft, molestation and traffic violation. The control room of the CCTV cameras would be in my office.”


According to police, two traffic officials have been given the task of monitoring the CCTV feeds.


The ACP said, “We do not have exclusive cameras to keep a tab on the movement of suspicious elements. This initiative will help us identify, chase and nab the accused.”


Although gangs like ‘maxi-cab’ gang that killed about 30 people are active in Gurgaon, police have not taken any effective steps to curb such incidents. A Mewati gang also operate in the city at night.After the cameras are installed at Iffco Chowk, Gurgaon police will focus on the other three intersections. These intersections have become a potential security hazard to the commuters.



Case study: Now pay to park in apartment complex

May 8, 2013

Case study: Now pay to park in apartment complex-Maple Crescent, Gurgaon
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 08, 2013
 Like many private gated community complexes, Maple Crescent Condominium in Sushant Lok has a hefty charge for its parking space.

“The apartment owners pay Rs. 90,000 for covered parking and Rs. 45,000 for open parking for one car. They have to shell out this amount every time they buy a new car and want to park it inside the complex. Had the parking rates been lower, the number of cars inside the complex could have been even higher,” said Anil Yadav, the president of Maple Crescent Condominium Association (MCCA) that maintains the upkeep of this gated community.  Despite these high charges, the apartment complex has 300 extra cars even as the apartments in its complex number 540. Many of these cars are seen parked in driveways and service lanes.

NHAI pushes for removal of Gurgaon toll plaza

April 18, 2013

NEW DELHI: Commuters moving between Delhi and Gurgaon may soon zip through the expressway without stopping at the 32-lane toll plaza. The National Highways Authority of India has asked the expressway project’s lead lender and its concessionaire to come up with a proposal to remove the toll plaza, which is the source of peak hour traffic jams every day.Around two lakh vehicles go through the toll plaza every day. At peak hours, cars constitute 72% of the traffic and the wait time can be as long as 10 minutes.A top NHAI official confirmed the move to remove the plaza. He told TOI that even the second plaza at KM 42 (Kherki Dhaula) could be shifted further down the road towards Jaipur so that it falls outside the city limits.

“This arrangement would mean large number of vehicles plying between Gurgaon and Delhi won’t be subjected to traffic snarls and won’t have to pay toll. On the other hand, the traffic towards Jaipur would pay full toll at a single point outside Gurgaon,” said the official.

Sources said the nitty-gritty of the arrangement are yet to be worked out. These would be proposed by the project’s lender and concessionaire. They added that at present around Rs 18 crore per month is collected as toll from both plazas on the expressway — roughly Rs 12 crore at the 32-lane toll plaza and Rs 6 crore at km 42 toll plaza. In case the first plaza is done away with, the overall toll collection would fall to Rs 10 crore, which would make the plan financially viable for concessionaire Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL) and the lead lender, Infrastructure Finance Development Company.

DGSCL had taken a loan of Rs 1,567 crore from a consortium of banks led by IDFC for this project. Officials familiar with the development said recovering this net present value (NPV) of the project from a single toll plaza would be impossible. If the plan to remove the 32-lane plaza goes ahead, both the lender and the concessionaire would have to take a financial hit.

In this case, the Haryana government could step in to compensate the project operator and lender. Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had shown interest last November in “purchasing” the project to make expressway travel hassle free. This would also suit his government in an election year, considering the huge public demand to remove the toll plaza and treat the expressway as an urban road connecting two cities.

These talks are on even as all the three parties – NHAI, IDFC and DGSCL – have filed cases against each other in the Delhi High Court. In the last hearing, IDFC had sought time from the court to put forward a settlement proposal. The court had allowed all parties to come out with a settlement and had fixed the next date for hearing to May 2.

RInfra’s Haryana road project becomes operational

July 4, 2012

Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) today said its Rs 800 crore road project in Haryana for widening of Gurgaon-Faridabad-Ballabhgarh-Sohna road has become operational.

The project was executed by the company through its special purpose vehicle GF Toll Road Private Ltd, the company said in a statement.

The project is RInfra SPV’s first state road project, executed on BOT and has a concession period of 17 years, during which time the road will be operated and maintained by RInfra’s SPV, it added.

The project involved four laning of Gurgaon-Faridabad stretch and two laning of Ballabhgarh-Sohna road, it said.

Commenting on the development, the Reliance Infrastructure CEO, Mr Lalit Jalan, said: “This will increase commuting convenience and connect centers of tourism, International airport, industrial zones and places of economic importance.”

The project includes 14 lanes toll plaza at Gurgaon Faridabad road and six lanes toll plaza at crusher zone. Also, two toll plazas of six lanes each are located on Ballabhgarh Sohna stretch, the company said.

“With current order book of eleven road projects, we will generate from next financial year revenues of Rs 1,200 crore a year with 15 per cent y-o-y growth rate,” Mr Jalan said.


Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway: Job Unfinished

November 16, 2010

These days driving on the Delhi Gurgaon Expressway in Peak Hours, perhaps you are asking yourself, what must be the traffic condition at toll plaza and at entry road to my office? How much time is needed? Will the traffic move fast or slow? It’s been more than 2 years since the highway became operational but the degree of difficulty in driving on this has increased sharply in recent months as more and more sections are
becoming congested.

Delhi Gurgaon Expressway

When Delhi Gurgaon Expressway was conceived by NHAI, the main objective was to provide high-speed connectivity between Delhi and the commercial hub, Gurgaon. However, today instead of providing speed connectivity it has become a subject of argument between, NHAI, Concessionaire and planning authorities of Haryana and New Delhi.

January 2008 marked the completion of the much-awaited Delhi Gurgaon Expressway but due to lack of proper planning, poor traffic forecasting, unplanned traffic management, poor urban design and lack of traffic enforcement it became a nightmare for the users. Further the increased traffic added to the mess in management of the highway and concessioner faced a huge challenge in starting the operations.

It is very sad to see this highway in such a sorry state of affairs where the issues are not addressed by the stakeholders but just being passed on to each other. Today, contrary to high expectations, this highway is just another ordinary road and is not able to give a nice driving experience to the road users and leave a good impression on the users.

The aesthetic perception for highway user is very bad indeed which conjures up images of choked Hero Honda road with overflowing drain water, poor service roads, narrow entries and exists, poor landscaping and toll plaza lanes welcoming commuters with choked lanes and driver criss crossing the lanes. This highway in the National Capital Region of India is far from creating an impression on any visitor from abroad who touches it when he enters the city and suburbs. It is a far away from the natural landscape and aesthetic quality which we can see internationally in all highways. Concessionaire was given the design with which he has to construct and operate now.

Expert highway planners and traffic engineers were not able to envisage for amenities required for the highway. The high cost of right-of-way acquisition generally prohibited the creation of buffer zones between highway and neighbourhood. Bridges, overpasses, skyways, fencing, sound barriers and interchanges that are a basic necessity on this stretch were not envisaged and now after development these are being accommodated in an unplanned manner. These unplanned and graceless structures are not well designed and lacks the aesthetic appearance.

The biggest challenge on this highway in the coming years would be circulation of traffic. Traffic planning and enforcement has not been addressed adequately leaving concessionaire of the highway helpless. For more than 50 villages on both sides of the road, this is another massive freeway which is used without payment of any toll, without any policy and without any documented right since they were overlooked at the planning stage. Today the challenge for the office going people is not just to drive on this but taking the entries and exits on this as well. All entries and exists are narrow and curvy lacking center lines and ample shoulders. At peak hours it takes more than 40 minutes which is almost double the time for crossing the highway. Prime commercial areas and prime residential localities of Gurgaon close to these exits and entries are facing the
heat of this oversight.

Since it began operation, safety has been a big issue and it has also achieved the notoriety of being called “The Killer Highway”. There are only limited over-bridges along the entire stretch to cater to the communities living on either side of the heavily populated areas through which the expressway runs. Right from fencing to over-bridges, everything is being implemented on a need basis now. Few issues are still un-addressed like movement of two-wheelers which is almost equal to the existing traffic on the expressway and effort has not been made even to count them so that some planning can be done for accommodating them on this highway. Half completed service roads and poor signages have also added risk to the users on the highway.

This development is not without its drawbacks – traffic congestion is a serious issue, especially at the toll plaza. During peak hours, it can easily take up to 15 minutes to cross the toll plaza which would have taken a minute to cross if managed properly. The highway operations staff needs lot of training in highway management and operations. The benefits that construction of this expressway offered in terms of employment and connectivity is outweighed by traffic congestion. The toll plaza at the Delhi-Gurgaon border has also proved inadequate in handling the increasing traffic, leading to traffic jams during peak hours. Though the plaza is tag enabled, only 35-40 percent of the traffic that passes through avails of this facility and that too with lot of mess.

From dense fog in winters to scorching heat waves in summers, from over loaded truck on the main highway to two wheelers zipping from all directions, from the encroached service roads in Haryana to un- authorized parking on service roads, from high speed to bad traffic etiquettes on Expressway, from Cash Users in Tag Lanes to Blacklisted Tag users, from lack of Basic Amenities to power failures in highway lighting, from lack
of VMS signages to stray animals on Highway, there are lot of issues that need to be addressed in Highway Management.

Highways are not only meant for driving. Internationally highways are meant to give a pleasant experience to the users where they feel safe to drive and reach their family and home in time. Aesthetics of expressway in terms of median, edges, lighting and road furniture is developed in such a fashion that it adds to the driving experience. The idea is to choose pleasing aesthetic solution which appeals to the users without compromising the safety issues of the highways.

To conclude, the Delhi Gurgaon Expressway has not only made developed localities of Gurgaon more accessible, it has also facilitated development of new localities. Master Plan 2021 has opened many sectors for development which benefitted with better connectivity after completion of this expressway. However, the quality of services on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway might get worse if not addressed on time. Gurgaon is already booming and it needs improved connectivity and a sharp reduction in travel time, both within the city as well as to and from the national capital. All stake holders and people involved in this project need to sit together and seriously deliberate to address all outstanding issues. A time bound plan for addressing these issues can be done only by a truly innovative way of thinking about the freeway in the urban environment.

All said and done, much work still remains to be done……

Sachin Sharma
Executive President -Infrastructure
Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd

Update on NHAI expressways projects

April 3, 2008

It is reported that, with access controlled expressways attracting massive investments, ministry of road transport & highways has decided to conduct the feasibility study for more such expressways and construction companies eyeing the access controlled expressway projects of National Highways Authority of India are likely to get investment opportunities for at least 4 such projects spread over 495 kilometer over the next few months. They are1) 70 kilometer Chandikhol Jagatpur Bhubaneswar – INR 761 crore2) 47 kilometer long Delhi Hapur – INR 474 crore3) 198 kilometer long Vijayawada Elluru Rajamundri – INR 1,602 crore4) 180 kilometer long Delhi Agra highway – INR 1,918 croreThe feasibility reports for these projects are already completed and the work is likely to be awarded in about 6 months. These projects are for widening the current 4 lane highways into 6 lanes and operating them for certain durations. Companies would have to bid competitively for these projects on a revenue sharing basis. Thus companies would have to bid on the extent of toll revenue that they are ready to share with the Government if they are allowed to operate the roads. Since these highways are already 4 lane stretches, the road operators can start toll collection even during the project construction phase from an appointed date, mutually decided by NHAI and the road operator. The toll revenues will be routed to an escrow account.Recently, NHAI has awarded 4 such mega projects of 882 kilometer length, which are likely to cost an estimated INR 10,912 crore. From the NHAI perspective, these projects have emerged as money spinners, with companies willing to foot the entire construction cost and part with 2% to 48.06% of their revenues in the initial leg of the project. At the end of the concession period, which is about 12 to 15 years duration, the winning firms have agreed to part with 12% to 59% share of toll revenues.The feasibility reports for another 10 projects of similar nature are under preparation. They are1) 315 kilometer long Kishangarh Udaipur stretch – INR 2,205 crore2) 235 kilometer long Udaipur Ahmedabad – INR 1,645 crore3) 190 kilometer long Varanasi Aurangabad – INR 1,330 crore4) 184 kilometer long Nellore Chilkaluripet – INR 1,288 crore5) 148 kilometer long Krishnagiri Walajapet – INR 1,036 crore6) 145 kilometer long Pune Satara – INR 1,015 crore7) 85 kilometer long Ludhiana Chandigarh – INR 595 crore8) 80 kilometer long Belgaum Dharwad – INR 560 crore9) 56 kilometer long Samakhiali Gandhidham – INR 392 crore10) 55 kilometer long Indore Dewas – INR 385 croreThe ministry has also decided to conduct the feasibility study for 4 such expressways between Delhi and Meerut, Chennai and Bangalore, Vadodara and Mumbai and Dhanbad and Kolkata. Source: 

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