The Yogi Adityanath government has decided to extend the under-construction Purvanchal Expressway to Ballia district on the border with Bihar, Hindi daily Amar Ujala has reported.
According to the daily, this extension will add around 60 to 80 km to the 340 km long expressway which was originally planed 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 Secretery 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 expressway will provide the backward districts along the eastern boundary of the state seamless connection to the National Capital Region via Lucknow, Agra and Noida through the Lucknow-Agra Expressway and the Yamuna Expressway.
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.
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