State Principal Secretary (Information) Navneet Sehgal and four others on Friday sustained injuries in a car accident at Unnao on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, three days ahead of its inauguration. Sehgal, also the chief executive officer of Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), was involved in a head-on collision with another car on the expressway while he was returning to Lucknow around 3.30 pm. Sehgal, who suffered head injuries, was rushed to the trauma centre at King George Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow along with his driver, gunner, and the two others.
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Ravi Kant, Vice-Chancellor of KGMU, said: “They all have sustained multiple injuries. The condition of the driver is most critical. While Sehgal has received serious injuries on his chest, leg and head, his condition and that of others is stable.” Later in the day, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav visited KGMU.
Police said the vehicle, which collided with Sehgal’s car, was being driven by Prashant Srivastava (38), a resident of Fatehgarh. Srivastava was returning from Lucknow with his younger brother Shukantu Srivastava (35). “They were rescued with the help of officials of Larsen and Toubro, who were in another vehicle behind Sehgal, as well as Air Force personnel,” an officer said.
Akhilesh is scheduled to inaugurate the 302-km six-lane expressway — his dream project and the longest expressway in the country — on November 21. It has been constructed by the UPEIDA to reduce traffic on congested roads and bring down pollution and the carbon footprint. It has been completed in a record 22 months.
A three-km long stretch on the expressway can double as a runway and be used by jets for landing and take-off. Unlike other expressway inaugurations, as many as 11 IAF jets are likely to land and take off from the expressway during the inaugural show. The exercise is aimed at testing the quality of build of the expressway, and would also go a long way in aiding the defence ministry’s plan to use highways and expressways as landing and take-off strips during emergencies.