Work on the 340-kilometer long Purvanchal Expressway is progressing in full swing after the Yogi Adityanath government brought forward the deadline for the project and extended the expressway up to Ballia on the border with Bihar.
In a meeting on 29 May, just five days after the election results, Adityanath brought forward the deadlines for the completion of four expressway projects in the state, including the Purvanchal Expressway, to make sure they are completed in time for him to add these as the achievements of the state government when the state goes to polls next in 2022. Just days later, the state government also approved the extension of the expressway from Ghazipur to Ballia. This extension will add around 60 to 80 km to the expressway which was originally planned to link state capital Lucknow with Ghazipur, passing through Barabanki, Faizabad, Amethi, Sultanpur, Azamgarh and Mau.
Work on the Purvanchal Expressway began last year and, according to Chief Secretary Pandey, around 10 per cent of construction has been completed, along with over 40 per cent of the earth work, around 90 per cent of clearing and grubbing (removal of trees and stumps) work and about 96 per cent of the land needed for the project acquired. The remaining land will be acquired in the next 15 days.
The project, introduced by the Samajwadi Party government, was initially delayed as the Adityanath government found that the bids received for the eight packages of the expressway were overpriced. These bids were cancelled in June 2018.
New bids were invited and contracts swiftly awarded in June, and the government managed to save Rs 600 crore in the process. If the UPEIDA is to be believed, the original bids were overpriced as the bidding companies “joined hands and worked as a cartel”. Major infrastructure players such as Reliance and AFCONS failed to qualify for contracts in the second bidding while relatively smaller firms such as the Agra-based PNC Infratech and the Lucknow-based APCO Constructions made the cut.
On 2 June, Chief Secretery Anup Chandra Pandey had inspected the under-construction Purvanchal Expressway from air. Adityanath wants the 340 kilometer long expressway to be complete by August next year and work on two other projects — the Bundelkhand Expressway and the Gorakhpur Link Expressway — to start in three months. He has also ordered survey work for the ambitious Ganga Expressway linking Meerut and Prayagraj to begin in the next three months.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.