No fund crunch or labour crisis for UP highway projects, says UPEIDA CEO Awanish Kumar Awasthi
By VIRENDRA SINGH RAWAT
LUCKNOW, July 5 (The CONNECT) - The Covid-19 pandemic was undoubtedly a bolt out of the blue for the global economy, India being no exception. But this has not dampened the ongoing infrastructure projects in Uttar Pradesh, which is today among the top domestic economies of India
Understandably, the infrastructure projects were among the hardest hit in the lockdown 1.0 and 2.0, not just due to the suspension of work during the peak(s) of the pandemic, but also due to the restrictions on the movement of men and material.
In this backdrop, Uttar Pradesh, which is witnessing the development of mega expressway projects totalling almost Rs 80,000 crore, also had to navigate through several many challenges to ensure these under-construction or proposed projects were not affected either due to the paucity of manpower, material, land or funds.
Currently, four expressway projects including 340 km Purvanchal Expressway, 296 km Bundelkhand Expressway, 91 km Gorakhpur Link Expressway and 628 km Ganga Expressway are in varying stages of development in UP.
Of these projects, Purvanchal Expressway, estimated to cost Rs 23,000 crore, is almost complete and is pegged for commissioning in the next few weeks. Per UPEIDA (UP additional chief secretary and UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority), the 340 km Purvanchal Expressway starts at village Chand Sarai, located at Lucknow-Sultanpur Road (NH-731), district Lucknow and ends near village Haidaria on National Highway No.-19, about 18 KM alead of UP-Bihar border, in district Ghazipur. Total length 340.824 KM.
The Other districts falling on the expressway are Lucknow, Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Ayodhya, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur.
Moreover, Bundelkhand Expressway is also likely to be completed by December 2021.
Considering the importance of these flagship projects, especially in the run up to the crucial 2022 UP assembly polls, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has instructed officials to expedite the work on these expressways so that they could achieve their timelines. The process of land acquisition has also been expedited.
He also recalled that while the foundation of the Purvanchal Expressway was launched in July 2018, its work was nearing completion despite the stiff pandemic crisis.
Meanwhile, the government has tied up with the consortium of banks to source funding for these big projects, which have interestingly earned the encomiums by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who exclaimed that UP was now acknowledged as the ‘Express Pradesh’ owing to the growing number of expressways in the state.
To overcome the impediments posed by the pandemic, the state had dexterously charted a strategy so that the infra projects, including both expressways and metro rails, were not impacted in the least. Apart from expressways, metro rail projects are also underway in Kanpur and Agra.
According to Awanish Kumar Awasthi, UPEIDA CEO, the state flagship projects did not face any crunch of funds or labour although the respective project sites were adhering to the standard Covid protocols of facemask, social distancing, testing etc.
The major expressway projects of UP are: -
Purvanchal Expressway: It spans nine districts namely Lucknow, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkarnagar, Amethi, Sultanpur, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur. It will connect Eastern UP districts with the National Capital Region (NCR) via Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Agra-Greater Noida Yamuna Expressway.
Bundelkhand Expressway: Estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore, it spans Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah districts. It will connect arid Bundelkhand region with the NCR via Agra-Lucknow and Yamuna expressways.
Gorakhpur Link Expressway: Estimated to cost Rs 5,800 crore, it traverses Gorakhpur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar and Azamgarh. It will provide fast connectivity for the movement of men and material, thus promoting the socioeconomic growth in the backward Eastern UP region.
Ganga Expressway: The project spans Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahar, Amroha, Sambhal, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh and Prayagraj districts. Ganga Expressway will arguably be the world’s longest access-controlled expressway. It is estimated to cost Rs 36,000 crore.