The historic Pink City will soon have a tunnel route on its east side gateway towards Agra on National Highway No.11. The 4-km-long toll road, with a 647-metre four-lane tunnel passing through the Aravalli mountains, will be built at a cost of Rs.150 crore in two years.

The objective of the tunnel project, first of its kind in the Rajasthan capital, is to ease congestion on Ghat Ki Guni, the only exit point for vehicles on the east side, while retaining the architecture of the traditional “Guni” (narrow valley) built by the erstwhile rulers of Jaipur State.

The Jaipur Development Authority, under which the project area falls, has already received the No Objection Certificate from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for tunnelling and for use of 14.5 hectares of forest land. The Authority has also deposited Rs.1.87 crore with the Rajasthan Forest Department for alternative plantation.

This is going to be the first toll road in Jaipur but all the traffic barring heavy vehicles will be exempted from paying for the use of the road. The private investor in the project, Rohan Rajdeep (JV) Ahmednagar, has been given a period of 13 years, 5 months and 20 days for toll collection.

“Initially we were worried about the toll part of it which the city dwellers would have found unacceptable. With the investor agreeing to charge only the heavy vehicles, the project will prove really user-friendly,” said Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who laid the foundation of the project on Tuesday in the presence of Urban Development Minister Shanti Dhariwal, Transport Minister Braj Kishore Sharma and Forest Minister Ramlal Jat besides the Member of Parliament from Jaipur, Mahesh Joshi, and local MLAs of both the Congress and the BJP.

“We are planning all-round development of Jaipur,” said Mr. Gehlot underlining his government’s commitment to making Jaipur a world-class city for which the Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi too has extended support.

Mr. Gehlot expressed concern over increasing road accidents in the State. Referring to the delays which took place in execution of projects during the previous BJP Government in the State, he said his first government had set a record in completing all the projects for which foundation was laid during its tenure.

Mr. Dhariwal announced plans for another tunnel road on Shanti Path -- between the Birla temple and the Rajasthan University campus -- leading to the Jawahar Nagar by-pass and the building of a New Jaipur in an area of 154 sq km.