New expressways to reduce capital's vehicle population by 30%

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated two peripheral expressways around Delhi that, he said, would help reduce the number of vehicles entering the national capital by 30 per cent and reduce vehicular pollution to that extent.

Speaking at Baghpat after inaugurating the Rs11,000-crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway and the first phase of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, implemented at about Rs842 crore, Modi said the benefits of infrastructure accrue to all.
“The expressways will greatly benefit the people of Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) by reducing pollution and will bring down traffic jams,” Modi said.
The 135-kilometre (84-mile), six-lane Eastern Peripheral Expressway was built in 17 months at a total cost of around Rs11,000 crore.
The new expressway will reroute over 50,000 vehicles that currently transit the capital city on their way to other destinations and help reach their destinations without entering New Delhi, transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters on Saturday.
It offers signal-free connectivity and is the first green highway fully lit by solar power, has drip pumps for watering plants alongside the highway and has rain water harvesting.
Modi also opened an initial stretch of an 82 km Delhi-Meerut highway, which is India’s first 14-lane expressway.
Delhi ranked sixth globally in the world's top 14 most polluted cities, according to a report published by the World Health Organisation this month. The city’s air quality has worsened over recent winters, prompting the prime minister’s office to directly monitor measures to clean up the capital’s air.
Gadkari also said the Delhi-Meerut Expressway will be completed by March 2019. Work on the Rs7,000-crore Dwarka Expressway connecting Haryana and Delhi has also started, he added.
The NCR is a rapidly urbanising and polluted area around New Delhi that is one-third the size of New York state, but houses 2.5 times more people.
Illegal crop burning in states surrounding New Delhi, vehicle exhausts and increasing construction activities combine to make Delhi the worst polluted city in the country.
The centre took up the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, which bypasses Delhi to connect Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, after the respective states expressed inability to undertake the project citing lack of funds. The project had to be implemented speedily following a Supreme Court directive to decongest Delhi.