UP fast-tracks expressway projects to create jobs for returning migrants

Bundelkhand Expressway will link Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah districts.
The Uttar Pradesh government will raise bank loans totalling Rs 9,275 crore to part fund two mega expressway projects.

The two infrastructure projects – Bundelkhand Expressway and Gorakhpur Link Expressway – are estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 4,600 crore, respectively.

According to UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) CEO and state additional chief secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi, the expressway projects will play a major role in boosting the local economy and generate employment for the migrant labourers returning from other states.

Following covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, the work on these projects had come to a standstill. However, the work resumed last month in all such pending projects, also including Purvanchal Expressway, which is estimated to cost nearly Rs 23,000 crore.

Chairing a review meeting here, Awasthi recently asked the commercial banks to expedite the process of approval to the bank loan proposal submitted by UPEIDA, the nodal agency for the expressways.

Meanwhile, Bank of Baroda has approved bank loan worth Rs 2,000 crore for the Bundelkhand Expressway project, while the process of forming a consortium of banks was underway.

Besides, Rs 700 crore worth of loan has also been sanctioned by the Union Bank of India, and the commercial banks are now in the process of granting sanction to the remaining portion of the loans worth Rs 6,575 crore.

On February 29, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation of 296 km Bundelkhand Expressway at a village in Chitrakoot district and observed the development of UP  depended upon connectivity and that the Yogi  Adityanath government was working at the speed of expressways, obliquely referring to the mega expressways.

Bundelkhand Expressway will link Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah districts. Last year, the state had awarded the six packages of the Expressway to the selected bidders, including Apco Infratech, Ashoka Buildcon, Gawar Construction and Dilip Buildcon.

So far, UPEIDA has acquired a major portion of the required 3,641 hectares for the project. It will connect Bundelkhand with the national capital region (NCR) via Agra-Lucknow and Yamuna expressways. The project would start near Bharatkoop at Jhansi-Allahabad National Highway (NH) 35 in Chitrakoot district and terminate near village Kudrail, Etawah on Agra-Lucknow Expressway.

Besides, the 91 km long Gorakhpur Link Expressway is being developed in 2 different packages. It will cut through Gorakhpur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar and Azamgarh districts.

At the same time, the Adityanath government has proposed a 600 km Ganga Expressway, touted as the world’s longest access infra project when completed. It is estimated to cost Rs 36,000 crore and link Prayagraj (Allahabad) with Western UP. It will require estimated acquisition of 6,556 hectares of land and traverse 12 districts viz. Meerut, Amroha, Bulandshahar, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratagarh and Prayagraj.

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