Ahead of the announcement of assembly elections, the Centre is scheduled to launch the ambitious Rs 40,000 crore Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway project on Wednesday.
Preparations are afoot for laying of the foundation stone by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ferozpur for the 670 km expressway which will provide the shortest connectivity to important Sikh religious shrines in Punjab, it is reliably learnt.
Launching of the expressway is crucial for the state's infrastructure as it would open a new avenue for operating luxury buses.
With days before the model code of conduct (MCC) for the polls in Punjab comes into force, the mega project is expected to enhance the road connectivity in the state.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi is also slated to attend the ceremony. Nearly 411 km of the expressway passes through the poll bound Punjab, which is 61 per cent of the total expressway length.
The expressway being developed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will bring down the travel time from Delhi to Amritsar to barely four-and-a-half hours and the journey time between the national capital and Katra will reduce to only six-and-a-half hours.
Currently, the fastest train, Vande Bharat Express, takes eight hours to reach Katra from New Delhi station. Officials said once the project is fully operational by March 2024, people can reach Srinagar in 10-and-a-half hours.
According to NHAI, once the four-laning of Jammu Srinagar highway and all tunnels are complete, one can board a luxury bus at night from Delhi and can reach Srinagar in the morning.
The Rs 40,000 crore project was conceptualized to provide high speed connectivity to major pilgrimage centres and industrial and economic hubs in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir.
Besides providing seamless road connectivity to the Golden temple in Amritsar, it will link Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib, Tarn Taran and Dera Baba Nanak/Kartarpur Sahib International corridor.
The economic hubs that will get connected include Ambala, Mohali, Sangrur, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, and Kathua.
Officials said the NHAI has bid out works for nearly 580 km out of the 670 km and contracts have been awarded. Officials said the country’s biggest cable-stayed bridge of approximately 1.3 km with eight lanes will also be built on Beas river near Goindwal Sahib.
For conservation of the Indus dolphins, the bridge won’t have any pier on 700 metres of the river width.
The four-lane access-controlled expressway can be expanded to eight-lanes to meet any future demand.
The expressway will also have 40 wayside amenities at intervals of approximately 25 km and the NHAI will carry out plantings of about 10 lakh trees along the expressway.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!