‘Investors will be inclined to set up industries and other facilities in the state in view of availability of high-speed road connectivity through these expressways’.
In an interview with The Sunday Guardian, Avanish Kumar Awasthi, CEO, Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), talked about several issues. Excerpts:
Q. The Centre is working hard and fast towards connecting India through national highways and creating industrial corridors. How is the government of Uttar Pradesh taking the vision forward in the state?
A: The Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) is a government of Uttar Pradesh agency responsible for the development of expressways and industrial corridors in Uttar Pradesh. UPEIDA has successfully executed 6-lane (expandable to 8-lanes) Access Controlled “Agra-Lucknow Expressway (Greenfield)” in a record time. The length of the expressway is 302.222 km. It is the longest expressway to date in the country. This expressway has facilitated an express corridor connecting the state capital, Lucknow, with Agra and further to the National Capital Region through the Yamuna Expressway. The Authority is in the process of identifying 10,000 Ha of land for development of industrial corridor along the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. The unique feature of this expressway is a 3.3 km long airstrip for use during emergency by the Indian Air Force. Another expressway by the name of “Purvanchal Expressway”, which is also a Greenfield Expressway, is to be shortly implemented by UPEIDA. This is also a 6-lane (expandable to 8-lanes) Access Controlled expressway. The bidding process for construction of the expressway is in advanced stage and the construction work is expected to start in April 2018. The length of this expressway is 341 km and it connects Lucknow to Ghazipur through Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, and Mau.
Q: What are the major express highways under construction and how long will it take for them to get operational?
A: The construction of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway has been completed and facilities in the form of petrol pumps, eateries etc are expected to be available in the next two months at the Wayside Amenities area on the expressway. This expressway is already operational. The construction of the 341 km long Purvanchal Expressway from Lucknow to Ghazipur is expected to start in April 2018 and is targeted to be operational in 30 months.
Q: What are the proposed plans and projects in the next 4 years?
A: (a) Besides the Purvanchal Expressway, for development of the Bundelkhand region of the state, the Chief Minister has announced construction of the “Bundelkhand Expressway” to connect the Bundelkhand region with New Delhi by an express corridor. The pre-feasibility study for selection of alignment for the expressway is already underway. This expressway will originate near Chitrakoot, will traverse through Banda, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Auraiyya and terminate on the Agra- Lucknow Expressway. This expressway is planned to be 4-lane wide (expandable to 6-lane) with Access Control. Further, a 4-lane wide (expandable to 6-lane) Access Controlled Jhansi Link Expressway, starting from near Jhansi and connecting to the Bundelkhand Expressway, in Jalaun district will link Jhansi to Bundelkhand Expressway.
Thus, the Bundelkhand region and Jhansi will get connected to New Delhi through the Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Yamuna Expressway. A defence corridor in approximately 10,000 acres of land is targeted to be developed along the Bundelkhand Expressway. (b) The “Gorakhpur link Expressway” has been planned to connect Gorakhpur with the Purvanchal Expressway to facilitate development of the Gorakhpur region. This expressway has been planned as a 4-lane wide (expandable to 6-lane) Access Control. This expressway will originate near Jaitpur on the Gorakhpur Bypass on the National Highway and will end at Purvanchal Expressway. In between, the expressway will traverse through Khajni, Belghat, Kamhariyaghat etc. The pre-feasibility study for selection of alignment for the expressway is underway.
(c) The “Pravagraj Link Expressway” will link the Pravagraj region to Lucknow and the eastern part of the state through a high speed corridor. The pre-feasibility study for selection of alignment for the expressway is underway.
Q: While identifying the sectors for making the express highways, what are the factors that you keep in mind?
A: The expressways facilitate an access controlled high-speed corridor for accelerated movement of traffic and transportation of goods, thereby saving time and reducing fuel consumption. After construction of the expressway, the parts of the state where the expressway passes through will get connected with high speed corridor which will spur industrial development and development of agriculture, commerce, and the tourism sector in the region. The state will thus get a major fillip, which will lead to socio-economic development of the state.
Q: How do express highways help build the right environment for investors? Has it been instrumental in getting investments at the recently concluded UP Investors Summit 2018?
A: The expressways will be a lifeline for the development of the state, as they will connect under-developed regions of the state to major towns and cities in the state and further to other parts of the country through a high-speed corridor. Investors will be inclined to set up industries and other facilities in the state in view of availability of high-speed road connectivity through these expressways.
Q: How do you foresee the future of Uttar Pradesh 10 years from now, if it continues to follow the path of development at the pace set in the last one year?
A: We are making the much-needed reforms, making necessary policies and creating an environment for pushing developmental work in the state. 10 years from now, we can foresee Uttar Pradesh as one among the most developed and prosperous states in the country.