Punjab BJP ex-chief Shwait Malik with Nitin Gadkari
CHANDIGARH: The Centre has accepted the Punjab government’s proposal to convert the Punjab stretch of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway into a greenfield project. A direct spur will be provided from Nakodar to the state’s five historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib, Tarn Taran and Amritsar, Union minister for road transport Nitin Gadkari told chief minister Amarinder Singh during a video conference on Tuesday.
Amarinder had raised the issue with the Centre after locals raised a concern over the project’s failure to connect religious and historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib and Tarn Taran. The original proposal of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was to widen GT Road from Kartarpur to Amritsar as brownfield project. However, large-scale demolitions due to land acquisitions made the project expensive.
During the meeting, Gadkari said NHAI approved the alignment of Phase-I of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway with Delhi-Gurdaspur section (entering the state near Khanauri and passing near the towns of Khanauri, Patran, Bhawanigarh, Ludhiana, Nakodar, Jalandhar Kartarpur, Qadian and Gurdaspur) as a Greenfield project after detailed deliberations with state government officials. This is in addition to the development of the existing NH-3 from Kartarpur (junction of proposed expressway with Jalandhar-Amritsar road NH-3) to Amritsar bypass as a 6-lane access controlled expressway, as a Brownfield project.
To speed up the land acquisition process for the new Greenfield alignment, the chief minister has agreed to an early meeting between NHAI and state government authorities, as suggested by Gadkari, an official spokesperson said.
Direct expressway to Amritsar
The Greenfield alignment will provide direct expressway connectivity to Amritsar, starting from Kangsabu village on Jalandhar-Nakodar National Highway connecting Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib, Tarn Tarn and Amritsar and merging with Amritsar-Dera Baba Nanak road near Rajasasi Airport. The original alignment approved by the state governments of Punjab and Haryana was not favoured as it entailed a longer route, making the toll road less viable.
Will connect five religious towns
The alignment, covering about 100 kms, will connect the five religious towns established by five Sikh Gurus -Sultanpur Lodhi (Guru Nanak Dev), Goindwal Sahib (Guru Amardas), Khadoor Sahib (Guru Angad Dev), Tarn Taran (Guru Arjan Dev) and Amritsar (Guru Ramdas). The revised alignment, finalised in line with the NHAI proposal, spanned the Khanauri-Malerkotla-Ludhiana-Nakodar-Kartapur-Qadian-Gurdaspur-Pathankot areas, which would now change in view of brownfield to greenfield conversion.
Amritsar part of Delhi-Katra expressway: Malik
The inclusion of Amritsar in Delhi-Katra Expressway has been confirmed during a high-level meeting of Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari, former Punjab BJP chiefShwait Malik stated in a release issued here on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Union cabinet ministers Jatinder Singh and V P Singh. Malik said the distance from Amritsar to Delhi, which was now covered in about 8 hours, would be shortened to only 4 hours after the city becomes part of the expressway.