The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday approved Rs 454 crore more for building two highways that will cost more than Rs 20,000 crore and link backward regions of India's most populous state.
The 296-km Bundelkhand Expressway and the 91-km Gorakhpur Link Expressway will cost Rs 14,849 crore and Rs 5,876 crore, the state government has estimated. The highways were first budgeted at Rs 14,716 crore and Rs 5,555 crore, but witnessed overruns of Rs 454 crore.
A state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath cleared bid documents for the two projects, allowing work on Bundelkhand Expressway to begin in October 2019.
The government has acquired 90% of 3,641 hectares land for the Bundelkhand Expressway, which is projected to boost the economy of the arid Bundelkhand region. It will pass through Jhansi, Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah districts, and touch Agra-Lucknow Expressway at Etawah.
The state government had invited technical bids for the Bundelkhand Expressway and Gorakhpur Link Expressway, but selection of companies was the process deferred when the model code of conduct came into force for the Lok Sabha elections.
The 91-km Gorakhpur Expressway, traversing Azamgarh and Ambedkar Nagar districts, will link Gorakhpur with the Purvanchal Expressway and it will be ready by next year. However, only 17 per cent of the targeted 1,073 hectares been acquired so far for the highway.