The Yogi Adityanath government has decided to cancel the tenders awarded to six firms during the previous Samajwadi Party regime to develop the 354-km long Purvanchal Expressway between Lucknow and Ghazipur.
Sources confirmed that the state government will soon table a proposal in the Cabinet to cancel the tenders and start afresh the process of selecting construction companies to execute the project. Cabinet Minister for Industrial Development Satish Mahana said that the previous tenders will be cancelled because the required land for the project was not available so far. He added that hardly 33 per cent land had been purchased for the project when these tenders were finalised. “Fresh tendering exercise will be done when required land is available. Also, cost of the project will be reduced,” said Mahana.
The board of UP Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) approved the proposal on Tuesday, confirmed sources.
The Purvanchal Expressway project, launched by then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, was proposed to connect Lucknow with Ghazipur via Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh and Mau. The cost of the project was estimated to be Rs 19,000 crore, of which Rs 12,000 crore was allotted for construction work and the remaining Rs 7,000 crore for acquiring land. The project aims to reduce travel time between Lucknow and Ghazipur by around five hours.
A senior official of the department said that the previous government had started the bidding process for the project in November 2015. By the end of last year, it had selected six firms — NCC, Ashoka Buildcon, PNC, Gayatri Constructions, Afcons and Larsen & Toubro — through tendering to develop eight stretches of the expressway.
“These companies were shortlisted for the project through tendering process. But by the time contracts could be awarded, the model code of conduct came into effect for Assembly elections. After elections, the new government has decided to cancel these tenders and hold a fresh tender exercise with revised conditions,” said the official.
“Tendering should ideally be done when the government has around 90 per cent of the required land area in its possession… In future, tenders will be awarded only when 90 per cent of the land is in possession,” the official added.
Officials said the state government was in the process of purchasing land from farmers and the fresh tendering process was expected to begin in the next few months.
Last month, when asked to comment on the Adityanath government’s decision to order a probe into the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Akhilesh had said, “They should also cancel the tender of the Purvanchal Expressway, where work is going on. They should restart the work if they are finding problems.”