Amid reports that the cost of the proposed Delhi-Jaipur Expressway has shot up due to the new land acquisition law, the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) is looking at options such as real estate development on its sides to make it viable.
The move comes a month after the PMO asked the ministry to move a Cabinet note for the expressway. The PMO had said the ministry would sign the state support agreement by February 28 and the project would be awarded by September after completing all the intermediate steps.
The Rs 11,750-project cost, which includes provision for land acquisition, is likely to shoot up by at least Rs 30,000 crore as land costs have trebled after the new land acquisition law came into force last month, a senior MoRTH official said. “The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has informed us that the cost of land alone for the 272-km expressway would be about Rs 18,000 crore, up from Rs 6,000 crore estimated earlier,” the official said.
“The Delhi-Jaipur Expressway is one of the announcements the PM made in November 2013, which has been taken up as a priority project of the government. As on date, there is no expressway built by the Central government and the Delhi-Jaipur one would be the first,” a PMO statement said in January.
The MoRTH official said the ministry is exploring ways for financing the project, which may include development of real estate along the stretch or building it around the existing highway. The ministry has sought advise on possible financing modes from stakeholder states ? Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana? before proceeding on the project, the officials added.
Roads minister Oscar Fernandes had earlier said that unless a major portion of the land is handed over in the construction of the proposed Delhi-Jaipur expressway, financial institutions could shy away from funding the project.
“Delhi-Jaipur expressway project is on, but unless 60% of the land is not handed over, work cannot start because the financial institution will not lend money,” he said. The starting point in Delhi for the expressway is likely to be the Indira Gandhi International Airport.