The Akhilesh Yadav government has decided to take up the ambitious project of Mayawati, Ganga Expressway, albeit with some revision.
The 1047-km-long stretch from Ballia to Noida, the Ganga Expressway was conceived during the previous BSP regime with Jaypee Group bagging the contract for the construction work. The project, however, was shelved after Mayawati was voted out of power while Jaypee pulled out of the project withdrawing its bank guarantee.
Now, after initiating Agra-Lucknow Expressway, the Samajwadi Party government has decided to revive the Ganga Expressway. Files pertaining to the project are being updated in Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA). Currently, the shelved project has a liability of only Rs 32 crore which needs to be returned to Jaypee Group before starting the project afresh.
“This amount was provided by the Jaypee Group to respective District Magistrates to be distributed as compensation to farmers. Since land acquisition did not take place, the money is lying idle and has to be returned,” Navneet Sehgal, Chief Executive Officer, UPEIDA, told The Indian Express.
For the project’s revival, a fresh route is being planned. There is, however, no consensus yet on the model that is to be adopted. “It will be decided at a later stage whether the model adopted will be Public Private Partnership or Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC). As of now, we are only reviving the project,” Sehgal confirmed.
Special concern will be taken to obtain all environmental clearance before launching the project as it was the lack of this (environmental clearance) that put the project amid a legal tussle at the Allahabad High Court during Mayawati’s regime in the first place. The project also witnessed farmers’ unrest over land acquisition.
“Double the speed, triple the economy – that is the CM’s slogan. There may be changes, but the project will soon take off,” a senior official informed.
However, state government is hesitant on providing large parcels of land unlike during Mayawati regime. Akhilesh himself on various occasions has stated that he cannot afford “sweeteners” in the project due to which companies are apprehensive of coming to the state.
The project was conceived as an eight-lane controlled expressway, originating at Ballia and passing through Ghazipur, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Raebareli, Unnao, Hardoi, Shahjahanpur, Farrukhabad, Kanshiram Nagar, Badaun, Aligarh, Bulandshahr and Gautam Budh Nagar. The initial estimated cost was around Rs 30,000 crore with a requirement of 15,120 hectares of land for the expressway and 11,254 hectares for land parcel in 1,949 villages.