In a wheat field near the mighty Ganges river stands a cracked foundation stone surrounded by nibbling goats and farmers driving their cattle in the baking sun.
Unveiled more than four years ago, it's all that remains of an ambition to build India's longest expressway, an eight-lane, 1,050-km (650-mile) road that would have run through Uttar Pradesh and connected one of the country's most backward regions to the doorstep of the nation's capital.
Supporters of the Ganga Expressway project say it would have helped transform Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state and one of its poorest, and the lives of its 200 million people by slashing travel times and letting industry and townships sprout.
But having been in and out of the headlines for years, the project has all but crumbled under the weight of political wrangling, opposition from farmers whose fields would have suffered, and a court order in 2009 stalling construction on environmental grounds.
"It's one of those projects that can change the development map of a region," said Gopal Sarma of the consulting firm Bain & Company.
"At the same time, there is the whole issue of how do you deal with people who have held onto pieces of land for literally hundreds of years, and are not really looking at compensation but are looking to continue a way of life that they have had?"
Image: Farmers work in a field against the backdrop of under-construction Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway at Manesar.
Text: Matthias Williams, Reuters