L&T, Reliance bid for Yogi's flagship Rs 190 billion infra project

Top infrastructure firms, including L&T, Reliance Infrastructure and Afcons, are in fray for Yogi Adityanath government’s flagship Purvanchal Expressway project, which is estimated to cost Rs 190 billion.

In technical bidding stage, 12 companies viz. Reliance, PNC Infratech, NCC Limited (Formerly Nagarjuna Construction Company), L&T, BSCPL Infrastructure (formerly B Seenaiah & Company (Projects)), Sadbhav Engineering, Oriental Structural Engineers, Ashoka Buildcon, KNR Constructions, Apco Infratech, Gayatri Projects, Afcons Infrastructure have been found eligible for financial bids.

According to sources, the financial bid of these companies would be opened next week, probably on March 28. Later, the evaluation committee would vet these bids and select the company quoting the minimum price. The government has divided the project into 8 packages, for which separate developers would be selected through competitive bidding.

If things pan out as planned, the selected companies would be awarded the contract in the next 4-6 weeks, so that construction could start by May-June. The mega project had already been delayed over sluggish land acquisition. About 4,332 hectares are required for the project, comprising both private and government land.

As per norms, an expressway project could be launched only after 90% of the requisite land is acquired, while the aggregate land acquired for Purvanchal Expressway stood at about 85%. The land alone is expected to cost nearly Rs 65 billion of the total cost.

UP industrial development minister Satish Mahana had expressed displeasure over the slow pace of land acquisition and summoned the respective divisional commissioners and district magistrates, where land acquisition had been the lowest.

A consortium led by State Bank of India (SBI) would give a credit line of Rs 150 billion for the project, which is projected to transform the socioeconomic landscape of the impoverished Eastern UP (Purvanchal) region.

The proposed 340 km expressway would traverse nine districts viz. Lucknow, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkarnagar, Amethi, Sultanpur, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur. Besides, the expressway would connect all important towns in its periphery viz. Varanasi, Ayodhya, Allahabad and Gorakhpur through link roads.

The expressway would have a 3 km long runway at Kudebhar (Sultanpur) for the landing and take-off by fighter planes during emergencies. The Agra-Lucknow Expressway already has the similar infrastructure at Unnao district.

Purvanchal Expressway, once completed, would be the country’s largest access controlled expressway and cut travel time between Ghazipur and Lucknow to less than 5 hrs. The expressway would incorporate provisions, which could be harnessed to lay oil/gas pipeline in future if required.

Purvanchal Expressway project was proposed during the previous Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party (SP) regime (2012-17) as Samajwadi Purvanchal Expressway. The Yadav government had also sought Rs 50 billion from the Centre for the project. After coming to power, the Adityanath government had dropped Purvanchal from its moniker and terminated it at Ghazipur from its earlier end point of Ballia.

Purvanchal Expressway would provide seamless connectivity between Eastern UP and National Capital Region (NCR) via 165-km Agra-Greater Noida Yamuna Expressway and 302-km Agra-Lucknow Expressway and spur industrialisation.

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