After the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh fast-tracked the construction of the Purvanchal Expressway, work on the project has been progressing in full swing in different parts of the state.
The six-lane Purvanchal Expressway, which will have a length of around 350 kilometres, will link state capital Lucknow with Ghazipur in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. The access controlled expressway will pass through the districts of Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkarnagar, Amethi, Sultanpur, Azamgarh and Mau.
The Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) has put out some pictures showing the progress made in the last few months.
When the expressway is ready, the travel time between Lucknow and Ghazipur will come down to around five hours, reports say.
The expressway will link the state’s most underdeveloped part to the capital, which in turn is linked to the National Capital Region (NCR) through the Agra-Lucknow Expressway and the Yamuna Expressway (which links Agra and NCR).
“The proposed Purvanchal Expressway getting connected with Agra-Lucknow Expressway shall become a vast Industrial Corridor connecting Eastern boundary to Western boundary of the state which will result into overall development of the state,” UPEIDA, the nodal agency for this project, has said in the past.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is holding a massive rally and a roadshow in Varanasi today, had laid the foundation of the expressway in May 2018.
The project is expected to cost the government around Rs 23,350 crore. Out of this, around Rs 6,500 crore is being spent on land acquisition alone. Around Rs 11,800 crore will be spent by the government on construction.
In February this year, Chief Minister Adityanath inspected the project in the Amethi district and said it would be completed in 24 months.
In the annual budget, the government has allocated Rs 1,194 crore for the Purvanchal Expressway project. In total, it has earmarked Rs 3,194 crore for the construction of expressways three expressways in the state.
The project is being completed under the engineering, procurement and construction model. UPEIDA has divided the project into eight packages. Three firms—Gayatri Projects Limited, GR Infraprojects and PNC Infratech Limited—have already been awarded two packages each while Apco Infra Private Limited and Oriental Structural Engineering have been awarded one package each.
After the Adityanath-led government took office, earlier bids for the project were canceled. The government had alleged back then that the existing bids were overpriced as bidders had "worked as cartels".
“The last time the bids were almost 10.97 per cent overpriced because construction companies joined hands and worked as a cartel. The UPEIDA was able to break the cartel, and new bids are almost 10 per cent less which will save around Rs 600 crore,” a senior UPEIDA official has been quoted as saying.
Eastern UP, which has over one-third of the total Lok Sabha seats in the state, is set to vote in the next few weeks. The Purvanchal Expressway project is likely to bring electoral benefits for the BJP. Gorakhpur, the traditional bastion of Adityanath, and Varanasi, Modi’s constituency, are in this region.