One of the main priorities for the BJP has always been the development of infrastructure in the country. Whenever the BJP is in power, connectivity projects get a major boost, be it the golden quadrilateral project of the Vajpayee government or the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme of the Modi government. The state governments under the BJP move on the same line; the governments of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh brought revolutionary changes in the connectivity of their respective states. The Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh is moving on the same path, having planned an ambitious 354-km, 8-lane Purvanchal Expressway, linking Lucknow to Ghazipur for which foundation stone will be laid by PM Modi on July, 14 in Azamgarh.
The ambitious highway will link central UP with eastern UP. Western UP is already connected through the 302 km long Agra-Lucknow Expressway. Agra and Delhi are connected through the 205km long Yamuna Expressway. Therefore, the Purvanchal Expressway will serve as the link between Delhi and the easternmost border of UP. After the completion of this project, the whole of Uttar Pradesh can be crisscrossed in 10 hours. The Purvanchal expressway will pass through the districts of Lucknow, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ambedkarnagar, Amethi, Sultanpur, Azamgarh, Mau, and Ghazipur.
The expressway is expected to cost around Rs 23,000 crores, for which the Uttar Pradesh government will take a loan of Rs 12,000 crore from Punjab National Bank (PNB). Additional Chief Secretary of Information, Awanish Awasthi said that in the first phase of the project, Rs 7,800 crore would be given by the bank at an interest rate of 8.30% interest for 15 years.
UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) has already acquired 93% of the land for construction. The state government has set a deadline of 36 months for the project but the UPEIDA intends to complete it within 24-26 months.
The project is expected to be complete before Uttar Pradesh goes in for the next Vidhan Sabha elections, with the project likely to be showcased as an achievement of this government. To complete the project, bids have been invited and tenders will be opened on July 6. Companies would submit both technical and financial bids, and by July 10, the process of awarding tenders to selected builders for the construction of the 353-km expressway between Lucknow and Ghazipur on the eastern fringes of the state will be completed. “The revenue department has already installed 11,800 pillars at every 50 meters to mark the land acquired for the project,” Awasthi said.
The expressway will be a step towards completing infrastructure requirements of eastern Uttar Pradesh which is one of the underdeveloped regions of the state. The Purvanchal area of UP is among the poorest regions of the country with most of the districts receiving The Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF), an Indian government program to address regional imbalances in development. The population density of the region is very high and most of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The industrial and infrastructural development in the region is almost negligible due to government negligence as well as its geographical location. The workforce is moving to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Calcutta to find work in order to survive and send remittance home.