New Delhi, May 22: The government’s much-hyped Golden Quadrilateral project to connect Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai by road will miss its target by one year and could be further delayed.
Showcased as Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s pet project, it aimed to connect 6,359 km at an estimated cost of Rs 58,000 crore. In addition, North-South and East-West corridors connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Silchar to Saurashtra covering 7,300 km was to be completed by 2009.
Minister for surface transport B.C. Khanduri today said the target date for completion of the first phase of National Highway Development Project will be 2004.
In 1998, Vajpayee had announced the construction of North-South and East-West corridors and had laid the foundation stone for the Golden Quadrilateral in 1999 that involved four laning of the highways between the four metros.
Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on highway financing, Khanduri said: “It has been our endeavour that there should be no time or cost overrun (in completion of NHDP). Golden Quadrilateral was originally planned to be completed by 2004 and we are now going by that deadline.”
The target date for completion of the quadrilateral project was advanced by the government to December 2003 in early 2000 under the former surface transport minister Rajnath Singh and Khanduri had maintained the project would be “substantially” completed by the old deadline.
“There are land acquisition problems in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa. In addition, there are law and order problem in Bihar and adjoining areas are also contributing to the delay. Some of the delay was also due to contract awarding procedure of multilateral agency like World Bank-funded projects,” he said.
“All dates are meaningless, if contractors and law and order don’t improve in the states. We are trying to overcome the time-overrun.”
“But the problems are not addressed then dates and targets are not surmountable,” added Khanduri
Out of the 5846 km of roads to be constructed under the Golden Quadrilateral project, 1327-km has already been completed while another 4383 km is under implementation and contracts for 136 km are yet to be awarded, he said.
Despite the delay in the target date, Khanduri is bullish about the project and said his ministry would soon seek approval from Cabinet for Rs 35,315 crore to be spent on the phase-II of the NHDP project.