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The highlight of India’s emergence under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is infrastructure development. While a human resource bounty that involves more than just upper-crust Indians might have to wait, it’s clear that the country must literally speed up for our economy to expand. Or at least fix whatever needlessly slows us down. For all their future promise and showcase value, big-ticket construction projects can be so disruptive that the trade-off begins to grate. In Delhi, an arterial highway link with Gurugram has got all but choked by work being done on a cross-over. As a result, airport traffic has turned into a crawl, which has elongated air-connectivity time, a metric that business travellers are highly sensitive to. Cities are increasingly airport-centric in the digital age, and those likely to wreck tight schedules with road snarls are not just put-offs, but generators of uncertainty. Sure, it’s being done to enable eventual efficiency. Delays in such project work, alas, are the norm rather than the exception. Dwarka Expressway, for whose sake this big clog-up was thrust upon Delhi, is about a decade late and still has a Godot-like air (filled with dust) about it. Its benefits had better be worth it.

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