New Delhi: In order to decongest traffic on Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Chandigarh national highways, the government is planning to build an expressway running parallel to these two highways.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) have started discussions with the concerned state governments in this regard.

Instead of making a separate authority, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways CP Joshi has entrusted this responsibility with NHAI.

As Joshi belongs to Rajasthan, he also proposed for a Delhi-Chandigarh expressway apart from Delhi-Jaipur expressway to avoid any kind of political bickering on the issue.

Joshi held discussions with officers of NHAI and top officials from Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab on Tuesday.

The four-lane National Highway-8 running between Delhi and Jaipur was constructed in 2001. Since then, the traffic on the route has increased four times. Vehicles take around 5-6 hours to cover the distance of 250 kilometres between the two cities.

Work for converting it into six lanes is already on. Same is the case with Delhi-Chandigarh NH-1.

However, Joshi feels that even six lane highways on these routes would not be able to suffice the needs of traffic in future. Hence, construction of expressways should be started soon.

As the budget required for constructing these highways would require Rs 5000 each, participation of private companies into the project would be viable.

Discussions are on whether the project should be taken over on the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) or Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis.

Speaking at a function on road construction, Joshi said, “In future, the contracts to construct national highways will be issued through e-tendering. The collection of toll tax will be done through electronic cards.”

He further informed his ministry aims at constructing 7300 kilometres of roads in the current fiscal that would cost Rs 57, 000 crore.

Around 59 projects have been identified for this purpose and satellite images will be used for constructing these roads, Joshi added.

JPN/Bureau