The Supreme Court Friday asked the Haryana government to award fresh contracts for the construction of Eastern and Western peripheral express corridor around Delhi within two months and giving another month's time to new contractors to commence work.
Taking a strong exception to inordinate delay in the completion of Eastern and Western peripheral express corridors, the green bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that a project which was ordered 10 years back was far from over.
The court said that the pace at which work was proceeding, it would another two decades for the two corridors to complete. "We started in 2005, 10 years ago, at this pace it will take another two decades," it observed.
The court, taking note of Haryana government's fresh affidavit which said that "though it is said that 65 percent of work is complete but in fact nothing has been done", asked: "Where were your engineers" and for "doing nothing you are willing to pay them Rs.1,300 crores".
The two corridors are being constructed to divert the heavy traffic which is at present using national capital as a transit to go to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Uttrakhand. The project was mooted in the wake of alarmingly rising air pollution in Delhi.
As the court was told that there were legal wrangles on account of payment of the old contractor whose contract has been terminated, it said: "We are concerned with the work. Whether A does it, B does it or C does it."
Directing two months for the award of the contract and another month for the commencement of work, the court said that things don't change with the change of the government.
As Haryana said that it would require six months time for completing the award of contract and the commencement of work as it has also to settle financial aspects with the earlier contractor, the court asked the state government to squeeze its time schedule.
The court said that its direction on the award of contracts to new contractors would not come in the way of the arbitration proceedings on the payment of Rs.1,300 crore to the earlier contractor for the work already done.
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal who appeared for the contractor whose contract has been terminated said that the order of the court awarding fresh contracts would come in the way of arbitration proceedings.
Unmoved and unwilling to retract its position, the court said: "Mr.Sibal, people are suffering. We have to go ahead."