The 2019 Lok Sabha election have virtually put the brakes on three mega expressway projects totalling about Rs 55,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh.
The three proposed projects, which have been put in abeyance due to the model code of conduct include Ganga Expressway, Bundelkhand Expressway and Gorakhpur Link Expressway estimated to cost nearly Rs 36,000 crore, Rs 14,000 crore and Rs 5,555 crore respectively.
Before the model code of conduct was enforced on March 10 after the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the polling schedule, the Yogi Adityanath government had already invited technical bids for the proposed Bundelkhand Expressway and Gorakhpur Link Expressway.
However, the process was deferred due to the model code. The bidding will now be taken up after the elections are over, a senior UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) official told Business Standard on condition of anonymity.
The largest of the three proposed expressways, the Ganga Expressway, which was cleared by the Adityanath cabinet on January 29, 2019, is yet to get a consultant appointed for preparing the detailed project report (DPR).
“All these tasks have been deferred due to the model code and would be taken up, once elections are over and the model code of conduct is withdrawn,” he said.
The 600km Ganga Expressway, proposed to be the world’s longest access controlled expressway, will link Prayagraj (Allahabad) with Western UP. It will require the acquisition of 6,556 hectares of land and traverse 12 districts viz. Meerut, Amroha, Bulandshahar, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratagarh and Prayagraj.
The four-lane expressway will be expandable to 6-lane and comprise 8 rail over bridges (RoB) and 18 flyovers. The previous Mayawati government (2007-12) had also proposed a Rs 30,000 crore 1,047km Ganga Expressway to connect Ballia in Eastern UP with Greater Noida in the National Capital Region (NCR). However, the project was shelved after it landed into trouble over acquisition and environmental issues.
Meanwhile, the 296km Bundelkhand Expressway will require the acquisition of 3,641 hectares.
Similarly, the 91km Gorakhpur Link Expressway, traversing Azamgarh and Ambedkar Nagar districts, will cost Rs 5,555 crore and link Gorakhpur with the Purvanchal Expressway, the construction of which is already on by concessionaries.
UP, which accounts for the maximum number of 80 seats, will witness polling in 7 phases viz. April 11, 18, 23, 29, May 6, 12 and 19, progressing from the Western region towards the Eastern UP districts.
In UP, more than 144 million electorates will exercise their franchise, including more than 77.9 million males, 66.1 million females and 8,374 third gender voters. The seven phases of polling will witness voting in 8, 8, 10, 13, 14, 14 and 13 constituencies respectively, spread across 75 districts in UP.