Friday, December 25, 2015

Ludhiana ELEVATED HIGHWAY PROJECT : High Court issues notice to NHAI

Told to reply on suggestions made by Punjab Traffic Adviser regarding shortcomings in the project

Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, December 24

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to file a reply to the suggestions made by Punjab Traffic Adviser Navdeep Asija regarding the shortcomings in the upcoming Elevated Highway Project in Ludhiana.
The orders were issued by Justice Surya Kant and Justice Ajay Tewari on December 18. Navdeep Asija had filed in the court that the proposal of constructing nearly 10 km elevated highway starting from Samrala Chowk to NH-95 section passing through the city was in violation of the approved mobility plan for the city of Ludhiana. Upon request, the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) and NHAI, ACP, provided the copy of their evaluation of the scheme.
Richa Agnihotri, ACP (Traffic), Ludhiana, had categorically informed about the wrong design of the elevated highway crossing right from the middle of the city to facilitate bypass traffic, which she said would not only create further problems due to limited space, but would add more traffic chaos. Three flyovers on this particular stretch have already added chaos to the situation, the ACP said.
This stretch was chosen for public transport system and bus rapid transport. The elevated corridor will simply restrict any kind of further planning of public transport and the local traffic underneath will face logjam on a day-to-day basis.
Asija pointed out that no developed city of any developed nation had built any elevated highway or expressway right from the middle of the city.
"One elevated highway from Chaura Bazar has already worsened the traffic situation in Ludhiana. In the case of Ludhiana, this ill-conceived proposal will not only add to traffic chaos but will create more health hazard and noise pollution," Asija said.
The Gurgaon-Delhi expressway is an example of a bad design which divided the city into two and increased pollution and road deaths manyfold, he said. Delhi was a recent example, where the National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court of India gave several directions to stop or discourage heavy commercial vehicles of bypass traffic crossing from the city.
"The present proposal of NHAI to build 10km elevated highways at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore from the middle of Ludhiana city has to be inspected from a design point of view," said Asija. The issue was highlighted by an RTI activist Kuldeep Khaira through Navdeep Asija in the High Court.

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