New Delhi: The Eastern Peripheral Expressway to be constructed on Kundli to Palwal route via Ghaziabad is lying in abeyance for the past five years due to controversies related to land acquisition, environmental clearances and determination of toll rates.

The Eastern Expressway was compared to the Western Expressway as it was mulled the traffic from Chandigarh to Agra will not enter Delhi and will take the by-pass route.

While the Western Expressway project managed to see the light of the day, the Eastern Expressway project still remains restricted to files.

Around 1, 638 hectare land was needed for Eastern Peripheral Expressway out of which 1, 333 hectare has been acquired under National Highway (NH) Act. Therefore only 288 hectare land has to be acquired for the project.

According to Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, land compensation to farmers from Sonepat, Faridabad, Palwal, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar are being distributed.

However, few farmers have still approached the court for compensation. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had sought funds from the concerned ministry for providing compensation. Some amount of funds has been released and rest will be sanctioned soon.

But, Rs 622 crore from Delhi government is yet to sanctioned as compensation.

The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for construction of the expressway through Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode was prepared on July 14, 2007.

Due to Taj Express, Noida Phase-2 roadways and Rajiv Gandhi City in Sonepat falling in the way, decision on two interchanges and two underpasses had to be postponed.

Eight companies including Reliance Infrastructure had bid for the expressway. The ministry had urged the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for opening of single bid. But, it did not consider the request and invited for new tenders post elections.

According to new rules by CCEA, it has suggested for 1.5 times toll rates. The new proposal has also been sent to the PPP Approval Committee (PPPAC).

In April 2010, PPP committee again suggested for few changes in the project.

The revised toll rates on January 6, 2011, were given approval on the condition that the government will not compensate for any losses incurred and the tender will be awarded on premium basis.

The infrastructure meeting on the Cabinet suggested getting environmental clearance and toll rates decision which was accepted by the PPPAC.

According to officials, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Sonepat have been given environmental clearance under phase-I.

However, Faridabad and Palwal are still waiting for the green nod. After asking for Request for Qualification (RFQ) from a new start, Request For Proposal (RFP) will be issued to 25 parties.

JPN/Bureau