Lending a major boost to its ambitious 302-km-long Lucknow-Agra Expressway project, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to develop four “high-tech and modern” satellite cities along the expressway. But unlike the erstwhile Mayawati government, which had developed townships along Yamuna Expressway amid opposition from the farmers after it gave the projects to the developers as a “sweetener”, the Akhilesh Yadav government will develop these cities on its own with help from government agencies.
On Wednesday, the state government signed contracts (Memorandum of Understanding) with five companies — Afcon Infrastructure Ltd for Firozabad-Etawah and Kannauj-Unnao stretch; NCC Ltd for Etawah-Kannauj stretch; PNC Infratech Ltd for Agra-Firozabad stretch; and Larsen and Toubro for Unnao-Lucknow stretch.
Sources inform that Chief Town and Country Planner have been tasked to carry out an initial feasibility study along the entire stretch of expressway and suggest best suitable locations. The state government has given instructions to first explore the locations around Lucknow, Firozabad and Etawah.
The expressway would pass through 10 districts including Firozabad, Kannauj, Etawah, Mainpuri, Auraiya, Kanpur Nagar, Unnao and Hardoi. Sources inform that idea is to increase the economic activity along the expressway by developing these high-tech cities with an aim to bring about development in the adjoining areas as well.
The state government’s eagerness in speeding up the project can be gauged from the fact that it has, in the past four months, acquired nearly 74 per cent (2,336 hectares of land) out of the 3,107 hectares required for the project. It will soon begin the process of handing over these lands to the respective companies as it wants to lay the foundation stone on November 22.
These 3,107 hectares of land are spread across 232 villages of 10 districts.
Sources inform that work on the project would start simultaneously on all five stretches on November 22 and the grand function is likely to be held either in Lucknow or Kannauj, Dimple Yadav’s parliamentary constituency.
While the deadline for the completion of the project is three years from the date of commencement, the government has already offered 0.04 per cent of the project cost as an incentive to those contractors who finish work on their respective stretch before the scheduled time. At the same time, developers will be fined if they fail to meet the deadline.
As senior officials of the government are busy fine-tuning the project, sources inform that four stretch of 10 acres each have also been proposed along the expressway as rest-cum-parking areas.
The proposed maximum speed to be allowed on the six lane expressway would be 120 km per hour. The total cost of the project has also been escalated — from around Rs 9,000 crore earlier to Rs 11,526 crore now.