The Uttar Pradesh government has set up an ‘ambitious’ target of completing the 165-km Yamuna Expressway by September 30 to keep date with the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi from October 3 to 14.
The expressway is being developed by Jaiprakash Infratech at an estimated cost of Rs 9,900 crore.
Earlier, even the state government had expressed its apprehension that the expressway would not be able to keep its date with the Games, as initially targeted to cash in on the mega event.
The six-lane expressway (erstwhile Taj Expressway) between Greater Noida and Agra will connect the national capital directly with Agra, which is a heavy traffic route.
The concessionaire has acquired the land required for the rest of the project amicably, the state industrial development department said. Around 1,500 hectares had been acquired in 335 notified villages across Gautam Budh Nagar, Bulandshahar, Aligarh, Mahamaya Nagar (Hatras), Mathura and Agra districts under the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA).
Steps were being taken to shift four transmission lines from the expressway, while 222 distribution and 12 transmission lines of the UP energy department had already been shifted.
The expressway was conceived with the idea to not only reduce travel time between New Delhi and Agra, but open up avenue for industrial and urban development in the region and provide base for convergence to tourism and other allied industries. It will lead to setting up of industrial units and townships flanking the entire stretch of the expressway.
When fully commissioned, the expressway will comprise three main toll plazas and a rail over bridge.
Earlier, the project had its share of controversies, including allegation of irregularities in award of the contract and agitation by farmers over compensation. In February 2003, then Mayawati government had awarded Taj (Yamuna) Expressway project to JAL and was stipulated to be completed within seven years at an estimated cost of Rs 1,600 crore.
However, the work on the project was stalled when Mulayam Singh Yadav came to power in UP in August 2003 over corruption charges in awarding the project to Jaypee.
Later, an inquiry committee gave a clean chit to the project, which got a new lease of life after Mayawati again came to power in May 2007.