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Lucknow-Agra Expressway project under Yogi Adityanath govt's scanner

Yogi's govt hired public sector company to conduct a technical survey of expressway within a month

Press Trust of India  |  Lucknow 

Yogi Adityanath
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath arrives at his office without red becon vehicle in lucknow

Barely four months after it was thrown open to public, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's ambitious project has come under the scanner of the government.

The expressway is being scrutinised for an alleged scam, involving farm land being passed as land for residential purposes to get higher compensation.

According to official sources, the state government has directed 10 district magistrates to probe all land deals done in around 230 villages over the last 18 months.

It has hired public sector company to conduct a technical survey of the expressway within a month.

The move comes after a special field officer of Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), Y N Lal, filed an FIR in Firozabad against five 'chakbandi' (land consolidation) officers and 22 land owners accusing them of showing agriculture land in Bachhela Bachheli village as land for residential purposes.

Around 3,500 hectare of land was purchased from 20,456 farmers in 10 districts of 232 villages for this project.

chief executive officer Awanish Awasthi told PTI that he has sent letters to the district magistrates concerned on April 19.

The idea is to ensure that genuine farmers are not affected, he said.

The previous Samajwadi Party government had claimed that the 302-km long expressway was constructed in record time and then chief minister often peppered his election speeches with the mention of his "dream project".

The present government claims that around Rs 670 crore alloted for the project is lying unused in its accounts. Around Rs 200 crore of this amount is with the district magistrates and the rest were with the UPEIDA, despite around 99.5 per cent of land for the project have already been purchased.

The District Magistrates have been asked to return funds lying with them, while the amount with has been reversed, officials said.

The expressway, which cost Rs 15,000 crore, passes through Etawah, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Unnao, Kanpur, Kannauj, Auraiya and Hardoi. It has an air strip near Unnao, where fighter planes can land, making it unique.

Chief Minister has been reviewing the schemes of the government, including the Samajwadi Pension Yojana, Gomti river front project, Smartphone Yojana and cycle track project.

He has also ordered a thorough review of the prestigious Yash Bharti Awards, started by Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1994, saying that giving them away to undeserving persons lowers the prestige of such an honour.

The government has also instructed magistrates of districts along the proposed Poorvanchal Expressway, connecting Lucknow and Ballia in eastern Uttar Pradesh, to stop land consolidation in 19 villages of Sultanpur, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur districts till land acquisition is completed.

So far, the government has purchased about 35 per cent of the land required for this project.

First Published: Fri, April 21 2017. 18:49 IST