Gadkari flags land acquisition woes in UP road projects, Yogi assures a fix

File photo of Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari. Photo: Sanjay K Sharma
Even as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has undertaken road projects totalling almost Rs 1 trillion in Uttar Pradesh, Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has flagged land acquisition hurdles in some areas.    

Gadkari has asked the state government to facilitate resolution of land acquisition woes so that these highway projects can be sped up. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to expedite NHAI projects by ironing out irritants, including land acquisition.    

On Monday, the Union minister was reviewing the progress of about 80 ongoing NHAI projects across UP, including the new mega ring road in Lucknow being developed at a cost of Rs 45 billion, apart from three flyovers costing Rs 12 billion.  

Gadkari said that before Kumbh Mela 2019, the waterway between Allahabad and Varanasi would be operational, while other infrastructure projects were also on in view of Kumbh during January-March 2019 at Prayag, Allahabad, where over 120 million people are expected to congregate.

Adityanath assured Gadkari that the state would extend all cooperation for the completion of the NHAI and other projects in UP and underlined the importance of a robust road network for taking development to remote areas.   

Meanwhile, the CM urged the Union minister to allow for the speeding up of road projects linking important towns with Allahabad in the backdrop of Kumbh. These include Lucknow-Allahabad, Ayodhya-Allahabad, Allahabad-Chitrakoot, Mirzapur-Allahabad and Varanasi-Allahabad highways. The state further sought expediting of road projects in the terai and western UP regions, including Gorakhpur, Sitapur, Saharanpur, Meerut and Bijnore.

Addressing the UP Investors Summit on February 21, 2018, in Lucknow, Gadkari had announced that road projects worth almost Rs 2 trillion would soon be launched in UP, including the proposed new Lucknow-Kanpur highway to reduce the travel time to about 40 minutes between the two mini-metros. 

Meanwhile, addressing another function of Indian International Science Festival (IISF) in Lucknow on Monday, Gadkari had stressed the use of alternative fuels for transport. He said oil import was becoming difficult due to rising prices and India must seek refuge in alternative fuel resources, including bio-fuel and ethanol.

He informed that under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Science and Technology, the harnessing of cheaper and more eco-friendly fuels had now become possible and successful tests had been conducted.

For its part, the Adityanath government is also promoting green energy and has recently cleared six private biofuel projects totalling Rs 17 billion in Sitapur, Hapur, Meerut, Bareilly and Muzaffarnagar.

These projects include a mega bio-fuel plant to be developed by SunLight Fuels spanning 90 acres in Sitapur, costing more than Rs 15 billion. The company would use bagasse, a sugarcane byproduct extracted during sugar production, to generate biofuel. It has tied up with local sugar mills to source bagasse.  

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