After slow progress in the first three years of Akhilesh Yadav’s government, infrastructure projects have got a sudden push in UP with the CM urging various departments to meet an October 2016 deadline. Assembly polls are in 2017.
Some of these projects were part of the Samjwadi Party’s manifesto in 2012, others promised after it took over. Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan, head of a newly formed project monitoring group for “priority projects”, would not agree with a widespread view that the deadline is unrealistic. “The deadline is not unrealistic,” he said. “None of the departments is doing an overrun. With proper management, we should be able to achieve the deadline for all the projects.”
A look at what the government has set out to achieve:
October 2016: First train on 8-km stretch of 23-km North-South corridor
Cost: Rs 2,000 crore out of Rs 6,880 crore
Work started September 2014. The government has not been able to get a Public Investment Board under the Finance Ministry to fund 50 per cent of the cost. Sources say out of Rs 450 crore assured, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporations has got Rs 100 crore from the UP government so far. Another 190 crore is awaited from agencies such as Awas Vikas, Lucknow Development Authority and UPSIDC. Daljeet Singh, director, works and operations, Lucknow Metro, said, “Funds are not an issue right now. We need about Rs 20 crore a month for civil works; after we install the rolling stock, we would need close to Rs 100 crore a month.”
Even on this small stretch, there are land issues to be sorted out.
October 2016: At least start Skill Development Centre and Hostel (target for first phase was five years from October 2014, revised to three years by HCL)
Cost: Rs 1,500 crore
Agreement signed with HCL in June 2014, foundation stone laid in October. No work on the ground yet. During the latest review meeting by the chief secretary on June 17, the developer was told to build at least a boundary wall and take environment clearance in the next one month. The project is awaiting central approval as a special economic zone. Recently, UP wrote to the Centre but sources say there has been no response yet.
October 2016: At least the international cricket stadium with 50,000 capacity
Cost: Rs 400 crore
Work began on October 2014 with a target of three years. Part of an SP manifesto promise after BSP chief Mayawati demolished Gomtinagar Stadium to make way for a memorial. Ekana Sports City Pvt Ltd is developing it on a build, operate and transfer basis for 35 years. Spread over 137 acres, with sports infrastructure expected to come up on 71 acres. Ekana and UP Cricket Association have an MoU for holding cricket matches at the under-construction stadium. An official with Lucknow Development Authority, the nodal agency, admits that making the project functional before 2017 will be difficult because of the amount of construction, including an administrative block, staff quarters and guest rooms.
October 2016: Target is to complete it; initial target was 2017, work started November 2014
Cost: Rs 11,000 crore
At 302 km, described as one of India’s longest access-controlled expressways. The government has split the project into five legs and given it to four simultaneous developers who have been offered financial rewards if they complete work early. The project is being built under an EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) model. L&T will build Lucknow-Unnao (63 km), Afcons Infrastructure will develop Unnao-Kannauj (64 km) and Etawah-Ferozabad (62 km), NCC Ltd will build Etawah-Kannauj (57 km) and PNC Infratech Agra-Ferozabad (56 km)
October 2016: 5,000 MW, various plants
Cost: Rs 10,000 crore
Major projects include the 500 MW Anpara D Thermal Power Plan in Naxal-affected Sonebhadra district being built by Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigan; three units of 660 MW for Bara Thermal Power Plant being developed by Jai Prakash Ventures, and three units of 600 MW for Lalitpur Power Project in Bundelkhand by Bajaj Hindustan Ltd. Two units of Meja Power Plant are targeted for December 2016. Experts expect some of these units to start functioning next year but feel commissioning all is unlikely.