NEW DELHI: Union Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced a new expressway connecting Delhi and Mumbai. Though he did not reveal the exact route the new expressway would take, a release from the government indicated it would pass through Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Gadkari revealed that the government would spend Rs 1 lakh crore on the expressway. The new road would be expected to augment the existing capacity built to connect the two megacities under the Golden Quadrilateral project of the previous NDA government.
The minister has said in a number of recent interviews that the government is not looking to expand existing highways into expressways, but would instead focus on greenfield projects. The rationale for this that has been provided by government sources is that the cost of land acquisition for greenfield projects is likely to be lesser since they would pass through relatively less developed areas.
Another rationale being offered is that it would take investment and connectivity into these relatively less developed areas. The expressway would also help the Centre leverage its plans for a Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project, which covers six states between the two megacities, by enlarging and spreading out the land area available for industrial clusters.
Gadkari also spoke of plans for a Chambal Expressway, which he said would be connected to the new Mumbai-Delhi Expressway. The statement from the government said the projects are "likely to benefit states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where the backward areas will also shine like Gurugram."
Reports on these projects have been appearing since the beginning of April, and suggest that the new 1400-km road would be designed to facilitate travel between the two cities in just 12 hours. That's an average speed of close to 120 kmph.