Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari has announced the development of a new greenfield connectivity to Amritsar city from Nakodar via Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib as part of Delhi-Amritsar Expressway. He said, in a release by PIB, the road from Amritsar to Gurdaspur would also be fully developed and made completely signal free. With this, traffic would have option to travel to Gurdaspur onwards from Nakodar, ie, via Amritsar or via Kartarpur. The minister said that this greenfield alignment will not only provide shortest and alternate express connectivity to Amritsar city 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.
Further, Gadkari informed that with this expressway, travel time from Amritsar to Delhi International airport would reduce to about four hours from the present about eight hours. According to him, this would fulfil one of long standing demands of the people of Punjab. The first phase of expressway would involve investment of about Rs 250 billion.
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has taken up development of Delhi Amritsar Katra Expressway under the Bharatmala Pariyojana. The alignment of expressway was firmed up in January 2019 and process of land acquisition was initiated. Recently, the issue of alignment of Expressway to Amritsar has been taken up by the Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and the Minister of State (I/C) Civil Aviation, Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri with the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari. 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 pointed out that the Government of Jammu & Kashmir had initially proposed Delhi-Katra Expressway. However, the Union Minister for RT&H Gadkari had envisaged that the proposed expressway would pass through Amritsar looking at religious importance of the city, where over 4 million tourists visit every year, and hence conceived Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway under Bharatmala.
In order to discuss and resolve issue of alignment to Amritsar, a VC meeting was held under Chairmanship of Nitin Gadkari, which was attended by the Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amrinder Singh, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of State (I/C) Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS (I/C) MoDoNER Dr Jitender Singh, MoS (RT&H) Gen VK Singh, Shwait Malik, MP (Rajya Sabha), Gurjeet Singh Aujala, MP (Lok Sabha) and Anil Joshi, Ex Cabinet Minister, Government of Punjab. Secretary MoRT&H, Chairman NHAI and other senior officers were also present in the meeting.
Amritsar city was always an integral part of the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway. From the beginning, the expressway has been proposed as a combination of greenfield and brownfield alignment in two phases.
Gadkari has also requested the Government of Punjab to provide requisite support to NHAI to expedite land acquisition for proposed expressway in the state of Punjab.