The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh (UP) led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is racing against time to lay the foundation stone for the proposed Bundelkhand Expressway before the notification for Lok Sabha elections in March this year, The Daily Pioneer has reported.
According to the report, officials of Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) have been asked to speed up ground work so that the foundation stone for Bundelkhand Expressway can be laid before March 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to lay the foundation stone for project in the first week of March just before the notification for Lok Sabha elections is likely to be issued.
The Bundelkhand Expressway is a proposed 293-km-long, four lane access-controlled highway project. The highway will start from Jhansi and pass through some of the most underdeveloped districts of the state like Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur, Auraiya and Jalaun. From Jalaun, the expressway will pass through Etawah district and reach Naseempur via Bateshwar. The expressway will reduce the travel time between Delhi and Chitrakoot by almost eight hours.
Given that the recently inaugurated Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor is also envisaged to come up along Bundelkhand Expressway, the government wants to expedite the project as the twin schemes are touted to have enormous potential to transform Bundelkhand.
The Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor is aimed at establishing UP among the top defence manufacturing states in India. Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow and Chitrakoot will comprise the six nodes of the proposed corridor.
By mid-November last year, the government had already issued Rs 640 crore to the district magistrates of Chitrakut, Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah to expedite acquisition of land for the expressway.
More than Rs 3,000 crore fund has been earmarked for the purchase of land while an additional Rs 11,000 crore will be required to build the expressway. Over 60 per cent of the project will be financed by private players.
UPEIDA officials have been asked to complete land purchase by January-end so that levelling can be started by February.
The Yogi Adityanath government has already started the construction of 343 km long six-lane, access-controlled Purvanchal highway that will connect eastern Uttar Pradesh, one of the least developed parts of the country, to the state capital of Lucknow. The expressway will provide uninterrupted connectivity to nine districts of Barabanki, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur, and will be linked to Prime Minister Modi's constituency Varanasi through a special link road. Construction of the expressway will cost Rs 23,000 crore.
UPEIDA has divided the project into eight packages. Gayatri Projects, GR Infra and PNC Infratech have been awarded two packages each while Apco and Oriental have been awarded one package each. When the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government took office, it cancelled earlier bids alleging that they were overpriced as bidders "worked as cartels".
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