As part of the discussion over the Union Budget, replying to the discussion and voting on the demands for grants under the control of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for 2019-20 in Lok Sabha on July 16, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has thrown light on many interesting developments in his ministry. The details he divulged about the proposed Delhi – Mumbai expressway are particularly interesting because it has answered the sceptics, both inside and outside the House, who raised the questions on how the government can manage the resources for its grand plans.
The Minister said that if there is a will to implement any particular project, the money will not become a constraint. He went on to deliberate on Delhi – Mumbai Expressway for which the work has started, as an example of how this government thinks innovatively. He had spoken on this project earlier also from various platforms. Deriving the figures from both his Lok Sabha reply and previous deliberations, here we present the saga of Delhi – Mumbai Expressway, a true model of New India infrastructure vision.
Cost Reduced & Backward Areas to Reap the Benefit
The present Highway between Delhi and Mumbai has 15% of the country’s freight traffic concentrated on this line. There are problems in expanding this highway into more lanes as the land acquisition was a difficult and time-consuming process. Even if the government would manage to acquire the land, the costs would have been staggering.
So, what did the government do?
The officials researched the matter and came up with an alternative route map that goes through the backward areas of various states. The new alignment has saved the government over Rs 16,000 crore. While an acre was coming in at Rs 7 crore according to the original alignment, the new alignment has brought it down to Rs 80 lakh a hectare.
Now the route is: Delhi-Gurugram-Mewat-Kota-Ratlam-Godhra-Vadodara-Surat-Dahisar -Mumbai. This route will travel through tribal routes like Alwar in Rajasthan, Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. It also covers backward districts like Mewat in Haryana and Dahod in Gujarat.
When Time is Money, This is the Saving
The time spent to travel between Delhi and Mumbai is estimated to be reduced from 24 hours to 12 hours for cars, and from 44 hours to 22 hours for trucks. The distance will come down from 1,450 km to 1,250 km between these two cities when one compares the upcoming expressway to the existing highway.
Besides, as the minister informed the House, there will be a pilot project for 10 km to check the feasibility of freight movement through the containers that move on an electric rope along with this 6-lane highway. This will bring down the cost of freight movement significantly for a country whose import bill is ballooning due to the dependency on oil.
Also, here is a video by Press Information Bureau on Delhi – Mumbai Expressway.
The Delhi – Mumbai expressway which is expected to be complete by 2022 serves as an example of how a resolute government can overcome the obstacles to ensure public good.