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Thursday, April 09, 2020

The Fine Print: Infra push not limited to big ticket projects

Key focus: housing for poor in urban and rural areas; roads to connect every corner of the state.

Written by Maulshree Seth , Avaneesh Mishra | Lucknow | Published: February 19, 2020 6:23:14 am
UP budget, yogi adityanath, Suresh KhannaSuresh Khanna, infrastructure development, housing for poor, UP tourism, BJP government, lucknow news, UP news, indian express news “A sum of Rs 3,300 crore proposed is for piped drinking water scheme in Bundelkhand, Vindhya region and quality affected villages,” said UP Finance Minister Suresh Khanna. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

As the BJP government in UP focussed on infrastructure development in its penultimate Budget before the Assembly elections, the thrust was not only limited to big-ticket projects like airports and expressways but on overall and holistic growth. While airports, expressways and metro rail projects took away a substantial amount of the infrastructure Budget outlay, a significant amount of money has been alloted to rural and urban development projects. The government’s focus has also been on tourism, especially religious sites.

Under Rural Development & Panchayati Raj section, the government allocated Rs 6,240 crore for the construction of 5 lakh housing units by next year under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Rural). An amount of Rs 5,791 crore was also proposed under the Swachha Bharat Mission (Rural) and another Rs 4,800 crore for employment under MNREGA scheme.

“In addition, Rs 639 crore is proposed under the Mukhya Mantri Awas Yojna (Rural) and Rs 1357 crore proposed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. A sum of Rs 3,300 crore proposed is for piped drinking water scheme in Bundelkhand, Vindhya region and quality affected villages,” State Finance Minister Suresh Khanna said while presenting the Budget in the Assembly on Tuesday.

A provision of Rs 458 crore was also made under the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan Yojna for capacity augmentation of panchayats, training and availability of infrastructure.

Under Jal Shakti, Namami Gange and rural water supply, the Finance Minister allocated Rs 1,554 crore for Saryu Canal project and Rs 1,736 crore for Central Ganga Canal the second phase, along with Rs 252 crore for Arjun Sahayak Project. “Around Rs 2,154 crore has been proposed for canal, irrigation and restructuring projects, in addition to Rs 3,000 crore proposed for Jal Jeevan Mission under the Rural Drinking Water Supply programmes,” Khanna said.

For urban areas, the government has set a target of constructing four lakh houses for weaker sections by March 2021, besides focussing on launching new metro rail projects in several cities of the state. An arrangement of Rs 2,305 crore for construction, widening and strengthening of rural roads has been proposed along with an arrangement of Rs 1,500 crore has been proposed for Rajya Sadak Nidhi. “There is total 2.31 lakh km long road network is under PWD and a sum of Rs 3,524 crore is proposed for its maintenance. A sum of Rs 830 crore is proposed for Uttar Pradesh Core Road Network Project setup with the help of World Bank for construction of roads under it. A sum of Rs 755 crore is proposed for Uttar Pradesh Mukhya Zila Vikas Pariyojna setup with the help of Asian Development Bank for construction of roads under it,” Khanna said.

For Regional Rapid Transit System between Delhi and Meerut, which is already in progress, the government has allocated Rs 900 crore in this fiscal. For Kanpur Metro Rail project, the government allocated Rs 358 crore, for Agra metro Rs 286 crore and Rs 200 crore for the Metro rail projects in Gorakhpur and other cities.

Meanwhile, as the previous two governments had been successful in completion of one expressway each to their credit — Yamuna Expressway by the BSP government and Lucknow-Agra Expressway during the SP rule, the incumbent BJP government is working on completion of Purvanchal Expressway and has set the ambitious target of undertaking series of expressways and link expressways projects.

In the Budget, the government has made a provision of Rs 2,000 crore for the 637-km long Ganga Expressway project, which the Finance Minister said will be one of the “longest expressways in the country”, connecting Meerut and Prayagraj. Other expressway projects for which provision has been made, include 297-km-long Bundelkhand expressway. Calling it the “lifeline” of Bundelkhand, Khanna said, “In order to give speed to the social and economic development of Bundelkhand region, Chitrakoot will be connected to Etawah on Lucknow-Agra Expressway through 297-km long Bundelkhand Expressway, which is currently being laid.”

While provisions were made for this project in the previous Budget also for the purchase of land, in this budget, the government has made provision of Rs 750 crore. Additional provision has been made of Rs 150 crore for development of Defence corridor along the Bundelkhand expressway. “The land has been identified in Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Jalaun, Aligarh, Agra and Kanpur for Defence Corridor project,” Khanna said.

Another Rs 200 crore has been allotted for the development of “Industrial Corridor” on Gorakhpur Link Expressway.

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