New Nethravati bridge to be thrown open in March

October 31, 2013

   Though the existing bridge was built for the movement of 12,500 passenger cars per day, nearly 40,000 cars cross Nethravati during festivals. Traffic was crawling on the bridge Wednesday morning . Photo: Special Arrangement

Old bridge will be repaired and opened to one-way traffic from Kerala

A new parallel bridge being built across the Nethravati on the National Highway 66 here will be ready by the end of March next year, said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The new three-lane bridge would ease the traffic congestion on the existing two-lane bridge.

Speaking at the Karnataka Development Programme Review Committee meeting here on Wednesday, K.M. Hegde, Executive Engineer, NHAI, Mangalore Project Office, said that 80 per cent of the work of the bridge was over.

Mr. Hegde said the existing two-lane bridge had been built for the movement of 12,500 passenger car units (vehicles) a day. But as traffic density on the highway had gone up now it resulted in traffic jam sometimes. During festivities, traffic movement went up to 40,000 passenger car units (vehicles) per day.

The parallel three-lane bridge would facilitate the movement of 35,000 passenger car units (vehicles) a day. One-way traffic from Mangalore to Kasaragod would be allowed on the new bridge, which is 800m long and 12m wide. Embankment work on the one side of the bridge was pending.

He said that once the new bridge was ready, the old bridge would be closed for about a month for repairs, and on reopening would allow one-way traffic from Kasaragod to Mangalore.

B. Ramanath Rai, Minister in-charge of Dakshina Kannada and Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology, presided over the meeting for reviewing progress of development projects in the district.

An official from the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL) told the meeting that widening and upgrading the 800-metre-long exit road from Mangalore International Airport had not been completed due to land acquisition issues. The district administration was yet to acquire land to a length of 350m and handed over to KRDCL.

The official said that the widening work of Mani-Sampaje stretch on Mani-Mysore Road would stick to the deadline and be over by May next year.

B.A. Mohiuddin Bava, MLA, said that companies were not setting up shops at the Export Promotion Industrial Park at Ganjimath (on Mangalore-Moodbidri Road) because of issues relating to power supply. An official of Karnataka Power Supply Corporation Ltd (KPTCL) blamed the delay in setting up a 220 kV sub-station at the park for the problem. Whether Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board, which developed the park, should set up the sub-station or KPTCL should do it, has not been sorted out, he said. Mr. Rai directed the officials to settle the issue mutually at the earliest.


Roads to Hell: The crumbling state of roads in India

October 16, 2013




Traffic is a synonym of Mumbai. Coupled with narrow roads and the potholes, which now I am beginning to believe are a part of an idea to help people save a trip to the moon or perhaps Mars.

What is it about the financial capital of India that the basic infrastructure of roads is in such a state? And if this is the state of roads in the so-called ‘best urban centre in the country’ I can’t even begin to imagine the state of roads in other parts.The blood-boil is coupled by the fact that the moment you step out of the cities and hit the highways the roads are butter-smooth, although still dangerous. Our roads are such beautiful pieces of gems that they deserve to awarded the ‘best imitation of the moon’s surface’. And the irony that the minister for road transport and highways is Mr ‘Oscar’ Fernandes is just not a coincidence.

Just for the sake of the tone of this column, I decided to check the website of this ministry. Describing itself, the ministry states, “An apex organisation under the Central Government, is entrusted with the task of formulating and administering, in consultation with other Central Ministries/Departments, State Governments/UT Administrations, organisations and individuals, policies for Road Transport, National Highways and Transport Research with a view to increasing the mobility and efficiency of the road transport system in the country. e Ministry has two wings: Roads wing and Transport wing.”

Nowhere the epitaph speaks about the basic task of building roads. Unless the government believes that our roads are already built and are in order. Just like how the government has brought down poverty in India to 22 per cent by formulating an ingenious policy of lowering the Below Poverty Line (BPL).

Also, read the last sentence of ministry’s self-description closely. The first word is ‘e’. I believe they wanted to write ‘The’ but ‘Th’ must have fallen in the depth of the potholed roads.

Now let’s read what the “Road Wing’ of the ministry actually states as its objectives: ‘Deals with development and maintenance of National Highway in the country.’ The road to development manoeuvres through the highways, touches the cities, misses it till it catches the next highway. After all, India lives on the highways. Cities and villages are too hipsterisque.

The main responsibilities of the ministry again begin with the importance given the national highways through planning, development and their maintenance. By now I am hoping the government should also form a ministry to look into a direct helicopter services from cities to these highways because clearly those are only roads the government is interested in.

The second and the only point that talks anything about the roads that makes our insurance premiums payments cry, it says, “Extends technical and financial support to State Governments for the development of state roads and the roads of inter-state connectivity and economic importance.” If the conditions of our city roads are anything to go by, then NASA should contract the Indian government to supply the technology to recreate the moon and its craters on Earth.

As you can read in this  article of 2010, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh outlined the spending on India’s infrastructure to the tune of $1 trillion in the 12th five year plan currently underway.

In the current and the second year of this five year plan, Singh finalised a spending of Rs 1,15,000 crore on the infrastructure sector, or roughly one-fourth of the total target of $1 trillion in these five years.

However, the impetus, as you can see, is not on the roads sector.

The road ministry had set an ambitious target of building 20 km of roads a day in 2009. However, in 2011-12 the average road construction, as this  story suggests, was just half of it.In 2012-13, the road ministry failed to even meet the half way mark of 4400 km in awarding road projects.

Even in the current fiscal, the bickering between the ministry and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) continues on the model that the government should adopt to award the road projects. As per this story, a ministry official commented, ”Just because PPP projects have not taken off in the recent past doesn’t mean we junk the model and switch over to cash-contracts. We need to innovate and try all options before taking such a step.”

This indicates, if nothing else, continued delays in the road construction in India. And if this is what is happening to the government’s blue-eyed highways which are just a tiny fraction of India’s vast road network, us city dwellers and village folk can continue to save our amusement park money by enjoying the bumpy ride every day.

(Shubhashish is a journalist who is now pursuing Masters in International Studies and Diplomacy in London. )



Traffic woes continue as bridge work trails

October 9, 2013

By Express News Service – MARADU


Though the ban imposed by the National Highway Authority of India  (NHAI) on vehicular traffic through the Aroor-Kumbalam old bridge completes 100 days on Monday, the authorities are yet to complete the repair work.

It was initially announced that the work would be completed before September. The old bridge that runs parallel to the Aroor-Kumbalam new bridge was closed more than three months ago after the heavy rains that lashed the area washed off the tarred surface. Thereafter, vehicles from Aroor and Vyttila were allowed ply only though the new bridge.

According to commuters and residents, vehicles can move only at snail’s pace. “Earlier, the old bridge was utilised by vehicles plying to Aroor from  Vyttila while vehicles from the opposite direction plied through the new bridge. Now, all vehicles are forced to use the new bridge which is causing  heavy traffic congestion in the area,” said Suresh Babu, a resident.

This is also causing accidents. “Though authorities have collecting huge amount as toll from commuters, they fail to provide a safe journey through the area. We need the old bridge to be opened for vehicular traffic. Or else, necessary steps should be taken to avoid accidents,” said Unnikrishnan, a commuter.

There are also allegations that the authorities have failed to conduct  repair work on the bridge. “Though the bridge was resurfaced by a private company a couple of years ago, a good share of the tarred surface has been  damaged,” he said. Meanwhile, sources with NHAI said a probe on how much area of the tarred surface of the bridge was damaged.





Widening of AIIMS-2 stretch in the offing

October 9, 2013

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh,

   The Gurgaon-Chandu-Badli road having AIIMS-2 en route will be widened and upgraded from the existing two lanes to four lanes for Rs. 94 crore. The tendering process is on and will be completed by the Haryana State Road Development Corporation (HSRDC).

This was stated in a review meeting presiding over by Sanjeev Kaushal, principal secretary, public works department (building and roads), on Tuesday in Gurgaon. He said the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-2 being set up at Badsa village in Jhajjar district falls on the 21-km stretch. “Since the outreach OPD of AIIMS has been functional in Badsa, the four-laning of the road will help patients,” he said.

  Kaushal ordered an inquiry into falling apart of 3-km road from Garhi Harsaru village to Chilana temple that was constructed recently.

He directed that the Palwal-Sohna-Rewari road be made pothole-free by October 20. He said the road was inspected and it was found that commuters were facing hardship due to numerous potholes. The principal secretary reviewed the progress of works announced by the chief minister.




Commuters use underconstruction bridge over nullah

October 7, 2013

Niraj Chinchkhede, TNN

AURANGABAD: With blatant disregard to safety – and civic discipline – commuters have started using an under-construction bridge over a nullah on the crucial road between Shahnoormiyan Dargah and Peer Bazaar Road in the city, just a month after the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) laid a concrete slab over the stretch.Traffic movement has started on the bridge even before the civic body could put a layer of asphalt on the stretch and set up the bridge’s railings. The AMC had initiated the bridge’s work in March 2013 at an investment of Rs 56 lakh and had promised to complete the project within six months. Civic authorities are now saying that it will take 40-50 days to complete the work.An AMC engineer supervising the bridge’s construction said that the route was blocked off, but locals broke the barricades and started using the bridge, impatient at the delay. He said that the AMC has not yet completed work on the stretch. “We are yet to lay asphalt on the road. Moreover, work of the drainage line, streetlights and pavement are also pending. The civic body has not officially opened the road for traffic,” he said.The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and the Indian Railways are jointly building a railway overbridge about 500 meters from the bridge on Shahnoormiyan Dargah-Peer Bazaar Road. Work of the ROB, which was supposed to be completed by September 2013, is still going on, adding to the commuting woes of locals.

Local corporator Girijaram Halnor justified the traffic flow, stating that the closed route was causing “serious inconvenience” to citizens. “This is one of the busiest roads in the area that connects two markets. Because of the ongoing construction of the Sangram Nagar railway bridge, the traffic burden on the Shahnoormiyan Dargah-Peer Bazaar Road has increased. We cannot block the road for long,” Halnor told TOI on Sunday.

Halnor argued that the flow of traffic would “settle down the soil layer” on the newly-constructed bridge. “The festive season has already begun and the number of commuters on the road has gone up. We cannot restrict commuters during this season,” Halnor said.

Aurangabad assistant commissioner of police (traffic) S B Chaugule said that it was the AMC’s responsibility to block traffic movement on the under-construction bridge.

“The municipal body has not informed that traffic police department about the completion of the bridge. Thus, it is not supposed to let commuters use it. During the construction period, the municipal authorities should see that the road is being blocked,” Chaugule said.

27 level crossings to be eliminated in 625 km DFC route

September 18, 2013


NEW DELHI: In order to make freight movement seamless on the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), railways have undertaken steps for eliminating 27 level crossings along the 625 km long route between Rewari and Iqbalgarh.

While 22 road overbridges (ROB) and road underbridges (RUB) will come up in Rajasthan, five will be constructed in Haryana to do away with level crossings in the 625 km route, which is part of Western DFC.

“Rajasthan government has agreed to share the cost of construction of 22 road overbridges and road underbridges. We are having a discussion with Haryana government for working out details for eliminating level crossings on the DFC route,” said a senior Dedicated Frieght Corridor Corporation (DFCC) official.

DFCC had recently awarded a contract of approximately Rs 6700 cr to an international consortium of Sojitz-L&T for constructing 625 km long corridor between Rewari to Ikbalgarh.

DFC is to be commissioned without any level crossings along the route to make it faster and seamless movement of freight trains.

The construction of the ROB and RUB on the DFC route has to be shared equally between state government and railways.

Managing Director of DFCC R K Gupta had reviewed the arrangement for shifting utilities coming in the way of alignment of the DFC project.

The Western DFC project is likely to be completed by 2017 and expected to create multiple opportunities in industrial and transportation sector.


Dead end ahead

September 13, 2013

It was meant to be an intrinsic part of the urban dream that Noida was building. A 24.53-km stretch between Noida, a city that has its origins in the 1970′s, and, the more recent, planned extension of Greater Noida. If other satellite towns around the national capital such as Gurgaon constantly despaired on the state of the roads both inside and those leading to the city, the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway was Noida’s answer to motorists’ demand for world-class roads as more and more people drive in high-end and sophisticated cars.

Built by the Jaypee group which has also constructed the Yamuna Expressway, and later handed over to the Noida Authority, the six-lane road was meant to provide a high-speed link between Delhi and Greater Noida, in turn boosting the region’s market value. More than a decade after it was constructed in 2002, the road has stayed true to the promise of high-speed travel. But speed, combined with other logistical failings and lack of police enforcement, has turned the expressway into one of the most dangerous stretches in the National Capital Region (NCR).


Speed thrills

The expressway, almost deceptively, is far removed from the chaotic traffic that exists in the areas it connects — Delhi, Noida and Greater Noida. All six carriageways are well-carpeted, tempting drivers to speed. Lush greenery covers the median along the entire length, the road bending gently at places — but never enough to bring the speedometer down considerably. There are no traffic signals and, in concept, there is nothing to prevent an uninterrupted drive. But often, there are visible reminders that a commute was interrupted. A truck upturned on the median, a car damaged beyond recognition. Lives halted midway.



The first of several safety-related issues facing the expressway is pedestrians crossing the road. With the average speed of vehicles exceeding 85kmph, people crossing the road pose a risk to both themselves and the cars that veer dangerously to avoid them. “The reason we have to cross the road is there are no over-bridges. People are forced to cross the road to reach a bus stop on the other side, negotiating vehicles travelling at over 100kmph. We are exposed to danger every single day,” said Amit Gupta, a student at Amity University.

A string of commercial and residential projects have come up on both sides of the expressway, fuelled by good connectivity and Noida-Greater Noida’s growing population. “This has resulted in an increasing number of pedestrians who want to cross the road. Some of these institutions like Amity University and HCL cater to either students or office-goers who run into thousands. A majority of them use public transport and, therefore, have to navigate the expressway. Lack of bus stops at appropriate points and foot over-bridges means accidents are waiting to happen,” a traffic police officer said.


No over-bridges

While a large number of establishments have already come up near Noida, large residential complexes such as the Jaypee Wish Town complex are on their way as well. “Construction workers also cross the central verge, often carrying construction material that hampers their mobility. Once these complexes are ready, then residents will try to cross the road. It is imperative that arrangements are made. Either in the form of traffic signals or over-bridges at designated spots,” the officer said.

If the blame for the dearth of civic infrastructure can be laid at the door of the Noida Authority, the district traffic police too has failed to check over-speeding on the stretch. While the speed limit is 100kmph for cars and 60kmph for heavy vehicles and two-wheelers, it is routinely violated. Additionally, vendors selling sugarcane and fruits squat on the periphery of the road with several vehicles stopping by to make purchases. On the days Indian Express visited the expressway, on a weekday and again on a weekend, not one patrol vehicle was visible.


Lack of policing

“There is no deterrence as there are no police vehicles. If there is an accident, this delays investigation as well as reaching medical help to victims,” said Manish Sharma, a resident of Greater Noida who uses the stretch everyday.

Exacerbating the danger posed by high speed is the presence of extremely slow-moving traffic: cycles and other modes of public transport such as tempos. “Since no toll is charged on the road, it is the easiest route for people going from Noida to Greater Noida. There are various pick-up points such as Amity, HCL, the KPMG building and others, where people gather to board tempos,” said Prahlad Kumar, who operates a tempo on the stretch.

Dangerous in the day, the expressway becomes a demon at night. A Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) report states that the most dangerous period is between 10 pm and midnight, a time when trucks and other heavy vehicles use the road.

Speed it may facilitate but the 24.53-km stretch finds itself caught between its conception of a high-speed expressway and lack of sufficient checks and balances to make the drive a safe one. The twain must meet, for lives are at stake.



Upgradation of approach roads in Wazirpur industrial area begins

September 12, 2013


Upgradation of approach roads in Wazirpur industrial area begins
(New Delhi: The upgradation of approach roads in Wazirpur industrial area begun here yesterday with the Telecom and IT Minister Kapil Sibal and Delhi Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf inaugurating the work.)
New Delhi: All industrial areas of the national capital would be developed with modern infrastructure and signal window system would also be provided for fast development of industries, Yusuf said.

Delhi government envisages making Delhi a hub of clean, high technology and skilled economic activities, he added.

He said the services of Wazirpur Industrial Area, spread over 210 acres, were taken over from North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) in December last year.

“Total length of all roads of Wazirpur Industrial Area, with road width varying from six to 25 metres, is 18.6 kilometres.

Almost all the roads of the industrial area were in a dilapidated condition. The work of improvement of major approach roads would be completed within six months at a cost of Rs 13 crore,” Yusuf said.

The industrial area is on the top of production of stainless steel products and exported goods worth Rs 1,000 crore per annum.

The scope of work includes redevelopment and up-gradation of 2,829 metre length with cement concrete roads, he said, adding DSIIDC intends to upgrade the infrastructure of the industrial areas by improving roads and drains as well as footpaths.


India, China to sign cooperation pact in road sector

September 12, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |


NEW DELHI: India and China are set to sign an agreement for cooperation in the road and transport sector when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Beijing in October. One of the areas would be cooperation in sharing of information on transport infrastructure.Government sources said the transport ministries of both sides have approved the details of the proposed agreement.

Sources said the identified areas of cooperation include sharing best practices in road and bridge building technologies, policies, intelligent traffic system besides road-related issues. China has taken huge strides in building world class highways, and has built over 60,000 km of expressways. Plans are afoot to build around 18,000 km of expressways in India.

China has also made a mark in speedy implementation of infrastructure projects, particularly road and rail. “Once we have technology sharing, it will help us push the pace of construction. They have also improved their record in reducing road deaths in the past six-seven years. Cooperation will open a window of opportunity for both the countries,” an official said.

Around half-a-dozen road projects are being built with participation of Chinese companies. Sources said all these projects were bagged by private entities in which Chinese firms had a share.

Sources said no project has been identified that can be taken up under this cooperation. “This is just a beginning. As we progress, projects will be identified,” the official said.

The other major area of cooperation will in the electronic mode of collecting toll (ETC). China is way ahead of India in this sector. India also plans to bring all toll plazas on national highways under ETC so that people can pass through all plazas using a single smart card.

India and China will also cooperate in the field of intelligent traffic system, vehicle specifications and their certification. While India is likely to benefit from Chinese sharing of information and knowledge, China will learn from India’s success in implementing public-private-partnership projects.

Last year, former highways minister C P Joshi had reached out to Chinese infrastructure companies to invest in the road sector. He had said around 40 road construction projects were being undertaken by companies from China, Russia, the UK, Dubai, Singapore, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Spain and Thailand.


Tewari lays foundation of 2 link roads, stresses on power of RTI

September 5, 2013

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times   Ludhiana,


Union information and broadcasting minister and Ludhiana member parliament (MP) Manish Tewari laid the foundation stone for upgrading two link roads in Dakha assembly segment in Ludhiana parliamentary constituency under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, here on Sunday.

Tewari laid the foundation stone of the link road between village Sohian to National Highway-95 and Braich to Dhollan, being built at an estimated cost of Rs. 1 crore 6 lakh and Rs. 6 crore 39 lakh, respectively.

Tewari exhorted people to exercise the Right to Information (RTI) to ensure proper utilisation of funds for development.

 He said, “The union government allocates about Rs. 800 to 1000 crore per annum to the state of Punjab for various programmes such as rural development and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), among others, which are to be spent through zila parishads.”

Tewari added that the state government does not contribute its share in the central schemes and funds are also not being properly utilised by the zila parishads. This is why there was no development in the state, he said.

Talking about the power of RTI, Tewari added, “The UPA government has strengthened the common man with the power of RTI through which everyone has a legal right to know how much amount has been sanctioned and how much has been spent. All panchayat’s and citizens are free to seek details of development funds from the zila parishad.”

The state government should come up with a white paper on the state economy, said the Ludhiana MP. He added that if no central grant is given to Punjab, the state will have to face financial bankruptcy as it is currently unable to even pay salaries to its employees.

Congress leaders including Jagpal Singh Khangura, Major Singh Mullanpur, Manjeet Singh Bharowal, Pawan Dewan, Kaka Grewal, Ranjit Singh Mangat, Telu Ram Bansal, Purshottam Khalifa, among others were present at the function.



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