Lucknow: Shrugging off its image of lackadaisical attitude towards implementation of large infrastructure and development projects, Uttar Pradesh seems well set to project itself globally as the preferred destination for investment and a land of superfast expressways offering state-of-the-art connectivity.
The nearly four-year-old BJP government, led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, is working overtime to complete at least two major expressways in the state’s most backward regions which will bring border districts in eastern region and Bundelkhand on the other side bordering Madhya Pradesh closer to the central and western parts of the country’s most populous state. The two expressways – Poorvanchal and Bundelkhand along with the existing Agra-Lucknow expressway and upcoming Jewar airport on the outskirts of Delhi and Yamuna expressway will offer seamless connectivity, linking most of the districts of the sprawling Uttar Pradesh.
“With Poorvanchal Expressway nearing completion by this October, it will be possible to travel from eastern most tip of UP through Lucknow to the national capital in flat nine to ten hours,’’ Avanish Awasthy, Additional Chief Secretary who is supervising the ambitious Rs 22,494 crore Poorvanchal expressway project, told journalists.
The 341-km long six-lane Poorvanchal expressway begins from Lucknow and passes through eight other districts including Barabanki, Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh and Mau.
Mr Awasthy said that the main carriageway with access control system will have seven railway overbridges, seven major bridges, 271 underpass and a service road on either side for local population.
“The importance of Poorvanchal expressway can be gauged from the fact that a 3.2 km long airstrip has also been constructed in Sultanpur district stretch which is fit for landing and take-off of Indian Air Force fighter jets, including the recently acquired multi-role fighter Rafale from France,’’ he said.
For the ease of construction, the expressway has been divided into eight packages and the runway falls in package four in Sultanpur district. This package is being implemented by G R Infraprojects Limited which has successfully completed 95 large projects in 15 states.
“After the completion of this expressway, trucks will be able to cover a distance of 750 kms in a day as compared to the present average of 250 kms, resulting in savings of time and fuel and presenting ease access of materials to the industries located along the expressway,’’ said Manoj Kumar Gupta, Chief Engineer of Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) while talking to journalists who visited the runway stretch in Sultanpur.
The second expressway passing through Bundelkhand region passes through Jhansi, Banda, Chitrakoot, Jalaun and Etawah districts and will have a total length of about 300 kms. “Despite the Corona pandemic, we have been able to complete about 37 per cent of the work and out of the total project cost of Rs 10,000 crore, the government has already made payments of Rs. 3000 to 4000 crore for acquiring farmlands from farmers,’’ said Mr Awasthy.
A third expressway – Ganga Expressway will link Meerut with the holy city of Prayagraj. “It will be nearly 600 kms long and the planning for it is going on in full swing,’’ Mr Awasthy said. The total cost of Ganga Expressway is estimated to be around Rs. 9000 crore and the funding for all the three expressways is being arranged through a consortium of leading public sector banks like State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank.