No alignment yet, but land prices spurt 40% on Delhi-Jaipur expressway

The long-held theory that infrastructure creation leads to spike in realty rates can find no better demonstration than just outside Delhi. Manesar and Rewari in Haryana, and Neemrana and Ajeetgarh in Rajasthan, are not just the names of semi-urbanised industrial belts en route the proposed Delhi-Jaipur expressway but are the latest hotspots for realtors that are seeing as much as 40 per cent appreciation in land rates. 

The interesting part, however, is officials in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways say the new alignment has been almost finalised but is yet to be officially notified or announced.

Sometimes the source of such challenge for project cost that comes with spike in land rates lies in the ministry itself. Union road transport and highway minister Nitin Gadkari had, in the past, announced development of new projects in some states and the land prices in the area went up in anticipation of better infrastructure and connectivity. Officials later advised  the minister to be cautious with such announcements. Incidentally, these projects never took off. “We are very cautious while announcing any new project in any state and do so only after at least the feasibility report is complete,” an official told Business Standard on the condition of anonymity.

For the Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, industry expects the alignment to cross Manesar, Rewari, Neemrana and Ajeetgarh, to Jaipur. NHAI, which does the land acquisition for the highway contracts, is yet to finalise the alignment. According to an official, the complete alignment is considered ready if the entire land that needs to be acquired for the project has been identified. Subsequently, the compensation to the land owners is decided and disbursed.

The infrastructure sector in the past has suffered delays on account of land acquisition but Gadkari now claims this issue has been addressed fully because of changes in law that give higher compensation. Therefore, NHAI is of the view that it won’t pose a challenge even in this project.

Vijay Chaudhary, managing director, Ram Rattan Group, the prices of land on the anticipated alignment for the project have risen by 30-40%.  At present, the group is working on country homes, farm houses and agricultural lands and IT parks in Delhi/NCR and neighboring states.

According to NHAI's draft feasibility report on the proposed Delhi-Jaipur expressway, the project is needed because the existing highway was not sufficient to cater to the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and business capital Mumbai that are linked to Delhi. The National Highway 8 is considered to be one of the busiest highways in North India, as it connects the National capital Delhi to Mumbai with important cities like Gurgaon, Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat enroute.

The Consultancy services for Feasibility Study of Delhi–Jaipur Expressway to be executed as BOT (Toll) project on DBFO pattern under NHDP Phase VI- was awarded to M/s. AECOM Asia Company Ltd. in consortium with AECOM India Pvt. Ltd., Consulting Engineers Group Ltd., G-Eng Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd.

The proposed expressway, which is expected to reduce the distance
between Delhi and Jaipur by 40 km, will branch out from the Delhi-Gurugram expressway near the Kherki Daula toll plaza in Gurugram and pass through seven districts before terminating at the pink city.

The total length of the access-controlled expressway will be 195km with a main carriageway of six lanes (three on each side). Currently, the distance is around 235 km.

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