Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday announced development of a new connectivity to Amritsar from Nakodar via Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib as part of Delhi-Amritsar Expressway, fulfilling a long standing demand of the people of Punjab. With this expressway, travel time from Amritsar to Delhi International Airport would reduce to about four hours from the present nearly eight hours, the road, transport and highways minister said adding that the first phase of expressway would involve investment of about Rs 25,000 crore.
"As part of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, greenfield connectivity will be developed to Amritsar from Nakodar via Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib and Khadoor Sahib...The proposed expressway will connect the holy cities of five gurus of Sikhism," Gadkari said after finalising the alignment in a review meeting attended by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and others.
The road from Amritsar to Gurdaspur would also be fully developed and made completely signal free, Gadkari said adding that the greenfield alignment will not only provide shortest and alternate express connectivity to Amritsar but also to other religious centres of Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib as well as the recently developed Dera Baba Nanak/Kartarpur Sahib International Corridor in Punjab.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said it has taken up development of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
The alignment of the expressway was firmed up in January 2019 and the process of land acquisition was initiated.
Recently, the issue of alignment of the expressway to Amritsar has been taken up by Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Civil Aviation and Housing & Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri with Gadkari, the ministry statement said.
It added that the issue was also raised by Shwait Malik, MP (Rajya Sabha), Gurjit Singh Aujla, MP (Lok Sabha), Government of Punjab, Sikh organisations and other public representatives.
It may be noted that the government of Jammu & Kashmir had initially proposed Delhi-Katra Expressway. However, Gadkari had envisaged that the proposed expressway would pass through Amritsar looking at religious importance of the city, which sees a footfall of over four million tourists every year, and hence conceived Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway under Bharatmala.
In order to discuss and resolve the issue of alignment to Amritsar, a meeting through video conference was held under the Chairmanship of Gadkari on Tuesday.
The meeting was attended by the Punjab Chief Minister, Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Hardeep Singh Puri, Jitender Singh and VK Singh ,among others.
The statement reiterated that Amritsar was always an integral part of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway. From beginning, the expressway was proposed as combination of greenfield and brownfield alignment in two phases. A completely new projects is termed greenfield project, whereas the projects which are modified or upgraded are called brownfield projects.
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