UP asks developers to absorb migrant workers in expressway projects

The government today directed the private developers of the flagship Purvanchal Expressway, estimated to cost Rs 23,000 crore, to provide employment to lockdown-hit migrant workers returning from other states.

The construction of the 340-km Expressway is on in full swing after the suspension of civil works for a few weeks due to the

Eight different packages of the infra projects are being developed by five private companies, namely, Gayatri Projects, PNC Infratech, GR Infra Project, Apco Infratech and Oriental Structural Engineering.

Chairing a review meeting in Lucknow, nodal agency UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) chief executive officer (CEO) Awanish Kumar Awasthi, who is also UP additional chief secretary, asked the developers to expedite the project and to actively absorb the migrants in civil works. He instructed these companies to promptly submit bills to UPEIDA, so that payments could be released on time.

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Involving the acquisition of 4,332 hectares, the Expressway will traverse 9 districts viz. Lucknow, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkarnagar, Amethi, Sultanpur, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur.

Purvanchal Expressway will provide seamless connectivity between the backward Eastern UP districts to the National Capital Region (NCR) via the already operational Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Agra-Greater Noida Yamuna Expressway.

It will also have an emergency airstrip for Indian Air Force jets at Kurebhar (Sultanpur). Currently, Agra-Lucknow Expressway has a 3.3-km-long runway at Unnao for allowing landing and takeoff to IAF fighter planes during emergency.

Meanwhile, 48 per cent of the civil works of Purvanchal Expressway has been completed and UPEIDA is targetting 50 per cent of the work is completed by the end of June 2020.

Besides, the government is now pursuing another mega Ganga Expressway project for an early launch. UPEIDA has recently estimated the civil work and land cost of the 628-km project at nearly Rs 21,000 crore and Rs 9,000 crore respectively, thus totalling Rs 30,000 crore.

Currently, three expressway projects totalling over Rs 42,000 crore are underway viz. 340 km Purvanchal Expressway, 296 km Bundelkhand Expressway and 91 km Gorakhpur Link Expressway, which are estimated to cost Rs 23,000 crore, Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 4,600 crore respectively.

The 16-lane Ganga Expressway will entail acquisition of 6,556 hectares of land and link 12 districts, including Meerut, Amroha, Bulandshahar, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratagarh and Prayagraj districts.

It will be divided into 12 different packages for simultaneous development by the concessionaires, who would be selected through a competitive bidding process like the other ongoing expressway projects.

With 2022 UP elections less than two years away, the Adityanath dispensation is expediting all the expressway projects, since they are the most visible specimen of development in the hinterland, and spur local economy along their course.

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