The work on a 25-km stretch of the under-construction Eastern Peripheral Expressway in Ghaziabad, which was stalled following protests by farmers, has resumed from May 2, the Uttar Pradesh police has told the Supreme Court. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta was apprised by Ghaziabad’s senior superintendent of police (SSP), who was present in the courtroom, that the construction work has resumed and the lawyer appearing for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) also endorsed the officer’s statement. The 135-km long Eastern Peripheral Expressway envisages signal-free connectivity between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar (Greater Noida) and Palwal.
“He (SSP) says that work in the Ghaziabad segment of the Eastern Periphery Expressway has resumed from May 2, 2017. This is confirmed by counsel appearing for NHAI. Presence of the SSP, Ghaziabad is now dispensed with,” the bench said. The apex court had on May 1 directed the Ghaziabad’s SSP to remain present before it on May 5 with full facts of the case. The NHAI had earlier told the bench that no construction was being carried out in the 25-km stretch in Ghaziabad due to protests by farmers and lack of police protection to the workers despite the apex court’s order.
It had also said that since the construction activity was stalled due to the farmers’ protest over land acquisition, it might miss the deadline for completing the work. The apex court had earlier asked the director general of police to provide security for construction work of the expressway as the work in the stretch was forcibly stopped by the farmers from December 25 last year. Besides this, the construction work on the 135-km long Western Peripheral Expressway, which connects Kundli to Palwal via Manesar in Haryana, was also going on.
The court, which has been hearing a 1985 plea filed by environmentalist M C Mehta on various issues including vehicular pollution, had asked the Centre in 2005 to build a peripheral expressway around Delhi by July 2016 to decongest and “de-pollute” the national capital. The two expressways were planned in 2006 following the Supreme Court order to form a ring road outside Delhi for channeling non-Delhi bound traffic bypassing the national capital.