UP flags road infra as imperative for faster development

UP PWD minister Shivpal Singh Yadav addressing 'Samriddhi 2015' conference organised by Business Standard Hindi in Lucknow
The Uttar Pradesh government once again accorded top priority to infrastructure and roads for speedy economic development in the state.

Addressing the fifth edition of ‘Samriddhi 2015’ conference organised by the Business Standard Hindi here, UP Public Works Department Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav said the plan to connect district headquarters with four-lane highways would start bearing fruits soon.

“For the first time, the government has decided to develop Agra-Lucknow Expressway out of its own resources,” he stressed. The project, estimated to cost nearly Rs 15,000 crore, is underway and is projected to be complete by the end of 2016.

Yadav said the government was committed to improving the energy sector and ameliorating the problems faced by farmers, since UP was essentially an agricultural economy.

Supporting the platform provided by ‘Samriddhi 2015’ for facilitating a dialogue between the industry and the government, he urged the deliberations and conclusions at the conference be submitted to the government in the form of a report for appropriate action.

Later, a panel comprising UP Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan, UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) Chairman and CEO Navneet Sehgal, State Bank of India (SBI) Chief General Manager Karnam Sekar, Banaras Beads Managing Director Ashok Gupta discussed issues of industry, finance, infrastructure, taxation, rebates and skills development.

Ranjan said information technology parks would be set up in the state, including in Agra and Varanasi. He said while the government aimed at equitable development, the state had provided incentives for industrial development in the impoverished eastern UP and Bundelkhand regions.

Meanwhile, Sehgal informed 92 per cent of land for Agra-Lucknow Expressway had been acquired and the process to take the remaining land was on. “We have identified spots to develop four townships along the expressway and to set up four agricultural ‘mandis’ to support agricultural sector and traditional industries at places such as Kannauj and Ferozabad,” he said.

Sekar said SBI had clocked 15 per cent growth in advances to industry in UP and the bank was flush with liquidity to support additional demand for loans.

Gupta urged the government to focus on eastern UP, particularly Varanasi, so that the region came on a par with the rest of the state in parameters of infrastructure development and employment.

He suggested the Udyog Bandhu, the UP government industry interface, be given more teeth and powers to redress irritants faced by industrialists.