Uttar Pradesh government has acquired over 2,000 hectares from farmers and land owners for the proposed 301 km Agra-Lucknow expressway.
This together with around 121 hectares of government and Gram Sabha land makes up for 70 percent of total land required for one of the flagship projects of the Akhilesh Yadav government.
The project estimated to cost about Rs 10,000 crore would traverse 10 districts viz. Agra, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Auraiya, Kannauj, Kanpur City, Unnao, Hardoi and Lucknow.
According to UP Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) sources, the government has so far acquired over 2,061 hectares of land from 22,525 farmers spanning 217 villages in these districts.
Additional land across 15 other villages is still to be acquired and negotiations with farmers were underway.
Interestingly, land acquisition has been lowest in pocket boroughs of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in Firozabad, Mainpuri and Etawah, where acquisition percentage have stood at merely 40 percent, 17 percent and 34 percent respectively.
Hardoi and Kannauj have clocked highest acquisition percentages at 100 and 95 percent respectively. Kannauj is the parliamentary constituency of Dimple Yadav, the wife of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Meanwhile, UPEIDA has sought Rs 1,350 crore from the finance department for part payment to farmers. Almost Rs 5,000 crore would be needed for land acquisition payments and the project is expected to be completed in 30-36 months.
Initially, the expressway was planned on public private partnership (PPP) model. Since, it failed to garner investors due to economic slowdown. Subsequently, the government decided to adopt Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) route, wherein the state would fund the project.
The contract for the project, divided into five packages, has already been awarded to developers.
PNC Infratech has been selected for package 1 (Agra-Firozabad); Afcons Infrastructure for package 2 (Firozabad-Etawah); Nagarjuna Construction Company for package 3 (Etawah-Kannauj); Afcons Infrastructure for package 4 (Kannauj-Unnao); and L&T for package 5 (Unnao-Lucknow).
The expressway would cut travel time between Lucknow and Agra and spur economic development along the route with trade, agricultural and economic corridors proposed at different places. It would provide seamless travel between Lucknow and National Capital Region (NCR) via the functional Agra-Greater Noida Yamuna Expressway.