JAMMU, Dec 4: Union Ministry for Road and Surface Transport has set up a joint committee comprising officials of the Ministry and Jammu and Kashmir Government to coordinate and expedite work on Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, which had recently been approved by the Centre Government at a whopping cost of Rs 60,000 crores. Similar joint committees have been set up by the Union Ministry with the States of Haryana and Punjab, where the Expressway would pass.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Union Ministry for Road and Surface Transport, which has been undertaking longest ever Expressway in India covering four States of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, has set up three separate teams in the Ministry along with officials of the respective State Governments to coordinate on expediting ground work for the project, which was set to be officially launched after the completion of all formalities.
The joint committees would take up acquisition of land, alignment of the project and all other necessary formalities, which are required to be completed before initiation of the Expressway. The Union Ministry has asked three States to prepare the ground work at the earliest to set the project in motion.
The Expressway would pass from Delhi-Jind-Amritsar-Katra and would reduce existing distance on the route from 727 kilometers to 572 kilometers. Distance of the journey will be reduced from New Delhi to Katra from present 10 to 12 hours to six to seven hours when the Expressway is completed.
It will link two important holy towns of Amritsar and Katra, which are daily frequented by thousands of pilgrims from across the country, from New Delhi and other States. The pilgrims would be able to reach Katra the same day after paying obeisance at Amritsar from New Delhi, Haryana and other States. The project was initially proposed between Amritsar-Katra but was later extended to New Delhi and it will be the longest ever Expressway in India.
Agra-Lucknow Expressway having a distance of 302 kilometers is the longest Expressway in the country so far, which was commissioned only last month, followed by Yamuna Expressway, which covers distance of 165 kilometers. With 572 kilometers distance, Delhi-Katra Expressway will be longest in the country.
Sources said the Union Ministry for Roads and Surface Transport was expecting start of work on Delhi-Jind-Amritsar-Katra Expressway in the middle of next year after completion of all formalities by four State Governments for which the funds would be released in their favour.
The agency that would execute work on the Expressway would be named once the formalities by the concerned States are completed and intimated to the Union Road and Surface Transport Ministry.
Sources said the Expressway would have altogether a different and new alignment from existing Jammu-Pathankot National Highway in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Expressway would be a separate road network from existing Jammu-Pathankot National Highway. Taking security aspects into consideration, alignment of the Expressway would be designed in such a way that it was away from the International Border with Pakistan,’’ sources said, adding this was being done as the existing highway was close to the border and militants after crossing the border had earlier carried out strikes on the Highway, leading to its blockade.
“From strategic point of view also, the new Expressway would be very beneficial as it would ensure immediate supplies to security forces in two border States of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir from New Delhi,’’ they said, adding even if the existing Highway is blocked due to some reasons, the parallel Expressway would operate.
On completion time of the Expressway, sources said it would be announced only when work on it was formally launched.