Uttar Pradesh : Ganga Expressway land acquisition fast tracked

Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to fast track the Ganga Expressway project that will extend from Meerut to Prayagraj. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will lay the foundation stone for the Rs 36,400 crore project in June next year and officials have been asked to speed up the land acquisition process for the same.

The 594-km long expressway, proposed to be the longest in the country, will start from Meerut and will go through Hapur, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Sambhal, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao and Rae Bareli before ending at Prayagraj. A total of 529 villages are expected to come in the ambit of the expressway. The state government has also green flagged the proposal to monetise the Agra-Lucknow expressway for funding the Ganga Expressway project.

According to a government order issued by the industry department on Thursday evening, of the total Rs 36,400 crore, an estimated Rs 9,255 crore would be spent on land acquisition, while the construction would be carried out at an estimated cost of over Rs 22,100 crore. Likewise, over Rs 5,000 crore would be spent on shifting of utilities, emergency spending, labour cess and maintenance for a period of five years.

According to Uttar Pradesh Expressway and Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) chief executive officer Avanish Awasthi, the clearance given by the state cabinet has paved the way for execution of the project at the ground level. He said land acquisition is proposed to be completed in the next six months. Fixing the annual budget for it and procurement of loans from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) will also be initiated.

Accordingly, a high-powered committee is proposed to be set up to take procedural and operational decisions to monetize — process of earning revenue from an asset — the Lucknow-Agra Expressway. Under this, the authority would be following the toll, operate and transfer (TOT) mechanism.

The authority would also be appointing a technical consultant and float a request for proposal (RFP). It has been decided that funds from the state treasury would be withdrawn after the money raised from monetization of Lucknow-Agra Expressway is deposited.

The SBI Capital Market Limited has been nominated as the financial advisor for the Ganga Expressway. The draft proposal for inviting investors on public-private partnership (PPP) model will be readied soon.

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