Delhi-Mumbai Expressway Construction Delayed Due to Land Acquisition Issues in Gujarat
The construction of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, aimed at cutting travel time between the two major cities from 24 hours to 12 hours, has hit a roadblock due to land acquisition issues in Gujarat. Specifically, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has yet to provide a construction start date for two stretches of the expressway corridor in Valsad and Navsari districts in Gujarat.
NHAI has awarded construction work for a 35 km stretch of the expressway corridor in Valsad district and a 27 km stretch in Navsari district, but construction has not yet begun due to pending work. According to a Times of India report, land acquisition problems have been the primary reason for the delay in bidding out these two stretches.
In a written reply submitted to Rajya Sabha, the Highways Ministry reported that NHAI has already awarded construction work for the 35 km stretch in Valsad district at a cost of Rs 3,633 crore and the 27 km stretch in Navsari district for Rs 2,287 crore. However, construction work has not yet commenced in either case.
Additionally, the Ministry reported progress on another four stretches of the expressway project in Gujarat, with land acquisition difficulties cited as the main reason for delays in these stretches as well. Progress ranges from 3% to 28%.
The expressway project was initially proposed to connect Sohna in Gurgaon with Mumbai via Vadodara. The Government of India aims to reduce the travel time between the two major cities, hence the proposal of a 1,380-km controlled access highway. The first stretch of the expressway, running from Sohna in Haryana to Dausa in Rajasthan, recently became operational on 12 February, 2023, and covers 246 km, reducing travel time from Delhi to Jaipur to just three hours from the current five hours.
Furthermore, the government has added extensions to the expressway to link the DND Flyway in Delhi and the upcoming Noida airport, with expected completion by December.
In conclusion, the delays in construction of the two stretches of the high-speed corridor in Gujarat are a setback to the progress of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway project. Nonetheless, the government continues to push for completion of the project and is making progress in other areas, such as the recently operationalized stretch from Sohna to Dausa.