THE ray of hope for the completion of the prestigious Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway (KMPE) project is still far away. This is perhaps the war of supremacy between two political heavy weights—Haryana Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu and Rajya Sabha MP, Dr Subhash Chandra.
The fight is not political but financial. It was heightened after work order of KMPE project to M/s KMP Expressway Limited, allegedly a proxy company of Capt Abhimanyu, was cancelled following delay in project and allotted to Chandra’s company M/s Essel Infraprojects. But, the project has been further delayed and work is yet to start.
The KMPE project was allotted to KMP Expressway Limited on January 31, 2006. The completion date was fixed as July 29, 2009, with a toll collection period of 20 years and nine months. But the Concessionaire failed to complete the work even by December 2014. The Supreme Court, in its order dated January 30, 2015, directed the State government to award the contract to a new Concessionaire urgently. Subsequen-tly, the Concession Agreement of KMP Expressway Limited was terminated on March 19, 2015.
Differences between Capt Abhimanyu and Chandra come to the fore in a meeting of Haryana Cabinet ministers held recently for the commencement of the pending work of 6-lane of Kundli-Manesar Expressway (KMP) on BOT (Annuity) basis.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had called a meeting of his Cabinet ministers on September 8, 2016, to waive off penalty of approximately Rs. 4.50 crore to be charged for the delay of the project. But it was ended hurriedly following objections reportedly raised by Capt Abhimanyu. Health Minister Anil Vij also joined him to oppose the proposed waiver scheme of CM, who is considered to be close to Zee media owner Chandra. Interestingly, the meeting was attended only by four ministers, raising questions of quorum.
Capt Abhimanyu represents Narnaund Assembly segment in Hissar, the home district of Chandra. Capt Abhimanyu owns a parental house in Kandakheri in Narnaund Assembly constituency, besides a house in Rohtak.
Chandra contested Rajya Sabha election as an Independent and was elected with the support of BJP and Independent MLAs. Votes of Congress MLAs were ruled invalid following the ink controversy.
In the meeting, it was decided to recommend levying damages/penalty on the Concessionaire from March 2, 2016, to August 24, 2016, at Rs. 10 lakh per week. If the payment is not paid within 180 days of the Financial Close, 9.30 per cent interest rate is to be charged on the penalty, it was added.
M/s Kundli-Manesar Expressway Limited is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Essel Infraproject Limited.
This project, costing Rs. 1,863 crore, is considered a lifeline for Haryana and significant for National Capital Region (NCR). The delay in the project not only gives a bad name to Haryana but also disappoints Union Surface Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister, Nitin Gadkari, who promised the completion of KMPE to decongest traffic and to make Delhi free from pollution.
The Managing Director of Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) Limited, Sudhir Rajpal, in a telephonic conversation with gfiles magazine said there was no concession given in penalty for the delay in completion of Kundli-Manesar Section of KMPE project. He further said that penalty on delay of project was being charged at Rs. 20 lakh per week till August 24, 2016, from which onward work was considered to begin.
The penalty of Rs. 20 lakh was enhanced from Rs. 10 lakh, following the intervention and protest by Capt Abhimanyu in the Cabinet meeting.
Vij said that matter was brought before the Cabinet but the HSIIDC was asked to take a final decision in its Board meeting on its own. He said that he was in favour of cancellation of contract to Chandra’s firm for the delay of work, but HSIIDC said that it will further delay the project following fresh tender of the same.
When asked about the waiver of penalty for delay by the government, he said “question does not arise”. Of the much delayed 136-km Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) stretch, 53 kms of Palwal-Mathura was inaugurated by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on April 5, 2016. The remaining 83-km stretch is still to take off.
The work on development of the KMP Expressway was started in 2006 during the Congress regime. For development of this project on BOT basis, Concession Agreement was signed with M/s KMP Expressway Ltd. As per the original time schedule, the expressway was to be ready by July 29, 2009. Forming a ring around the NCR area, the eastern (connecting Kundli, Ghaziabad and Palwal) and the western (Kundli, Manesar and Palwal) peripheral expressways were conceived to ensure that non-destined commercial vehicles, which are estimated to be more than 80,000 now, do not enter the city limits of Delhi.
The much-delayed project got a new lease of life last year when in pursuance to the Supreme Court orders dated January 30, 2015, the State government took the decision to terminate the contract of the old Concessionaire and have a new Concessionaire. While the HSIIDC allotted work for the Manesar-Palwal section on Item Rate Mode in March last, the work for the remaining Kundli-Manesar section was granted in July. The Kundli-Manesar section is expected to be complete in a
Impact of KMP
THIS 53-km stretch is to connect NH-2 (Mathura Road) at Kuslipur in Palwal with Panchgam village on NH-8 (Delhi-Jaipur road), near Manesar in Gurgaon district, making commuting shorter between the two districts.
Traffic from Mathura and Agra and headed for Gurgaon, Manesar or Jaipur can now use this route instead of entering Delhi and vice versa, saving time and money.
The KMP and the 135-km Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal expressways will form a ring road around Delhi to allow diesel trucks and commercial vehicles to bypass the capital. It will help decongest the city and reduce pollution.
The KMP, or the western peripheral expressway, will pass through Palwal, Gurgaon, Mewat, Jhajjar and Sonepat districts. The eastern peripheral expressway will connect Kundli, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Palwal.