8 LANE INNER RING ROAD TO COST RS 1,100 CRORE
Agra may no longer be known only for Shahjahan’s masterpiece, Taj Mahal — especially if you drive down to the city in the days to come.
The Jaypee Group is ready to add another landmark to it. Having the ambitious Yamuna Expressway under its belt, the group has now undertaken to construct an eight-lane 20 km long inner Ring Road.
The massive almost Rs 1,100 crore project has been given to the company, which plans to construct the road from National Highway 2 near Kuberpur village to National Highway 3 near Rohta village.
To be developed on Design-Finance-Operate and Transfer (DFOT) basis, the project has been given a go ahead by the housing department.
‘‘Transparency has been maintained while allotting the project to the group,’’ said principal secretary (housing), Harminder Raj Singh while talking to TOI on Monday.
But what actually makes the project interesting is the draft document of Awas Bandhu, the nodal agency for the project. According to it, ‘‘The concessionaire may be given the right to permit and allowed to charge for advertisement/hoarding on the project site.’’ That is, the company would take over the role of municipal authorities which has been levying charges on hoardings and advertisement sign boards. Interestingly, the draft document also emphasises: ‘‘This shall not be permitted in the areas under the control of authorities.’’
The ‘concession’ is not restricted to charging rates on advertisement sites. The document further states that ‘‘some land also be given to the developer for development rights’’. There are no specifics about the extent of land which would be given to the developer (Jaypee Group in this case).
The concession comes in conformity with the already contentious issue of land acquisition around Yamuna Expressway (erstwhile Taj Expressway), which too is being constructed by the group.
The project as such was facing legal problems pertaining to land acquisition until last week when the Allahabad high court gave its nod.
According to the proposal, the state government is in the process of acquiring land in some 850 villages around the expressway in the area stretched between New Delhi and Agra and passing through districts like Aligarh, Mahamayanagar and Mathura. In fact, there would be some 133 villages which would come under the project’s ambit between the river Yamuna and Grand Trunk Road.
A beginning to this effect was recently made when the state government notified these villages, leaving hundreds and thousands of farmers in state apprehensive about their future.
A senior housing official said that ‘‘They are only notifying these villages. Acquisition would be done only when the need arises.’’
Interestingly, Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) in its publicly disclosed draft said: ‘‘The areas are all along the Yamuna Expressway and alignment shall become prone to encroachment and haphazard growth.’’ This might give the need for acquisition by the officials in future.
Even though officials refrained from commenting on the issue, sources admitted that the cost of the land around would surely shoot up many times because of the expressway and now the inner Ring Road.