LUCKNOW: With the inauguration of Purvanchal Expressway on Tuesday and two expressways -- Agra-Lucknow and Yamuna-- already functional, Uttar Pradesh has shot into a fast track of development, employment opportunities and expanding industrialization.
With four more expressways -- Gorakhpur link, Bundelkhand, Ganga and Lko-Kanpur -- in the offing, two others operational in NCR, besides the upcoming six-node defence corridor, the state is set to have the largest network of expressways crisscrossing over 2,000 km in distance.
Currently, the total expressway network in India is around 1,822 km. No wonder, the state has been given the sobriquet of ‘Expressway Pradesh' by PM Narendra Modi.
The newly-inaugurated 341-km Purvanchal Express will allow commuters to drive down from Delhi to the far east corner of the UP-Bihar border in a little over 10 hours. Even the travel time between Lucknow and Ghazipur will be halved from 6 hours to 3.5 hours Once ready, the network of expressways will provide access to all corners of UP from the national capital. Besides faster commuting, the expressways will create job opportunities and ensure of growth of economic clusters around them.
UP may be lagging in terms of social parameters like health, and nutrition but it is set to give tough competition to other states as far as infra projects especially the expressways are concerned.
While the Yamuna expressway, which came up in 2012, and the Agra-Lucknow Expressway that opened to the public in 2018 set the trend, the 341-km Purvanchal, 296-km Bundelkhand, 91-km Gorakhpur Link and the 594-km Ganga expressways — are scripting a conspicuous transformation of the state.
The network of expressways, interlinked, will bring the backward regions of the state closer to not only state capital but also Delhi and beyond, opening up markets and giving a big boost to socio-economic development in the region," says economist Dr Arvind Mohan.
According to senior UPEIDA officials, there is a proposal to connect the Purvanchal Expressway to Buxar in Bihar from Ghazipur. The said Expressway is likely to be expanded to eight lanes till 354-km from the current length of 341-km.
“We have received a proposal from the Bihar government and are considering it. Once this happens, not only eastern UP but Bihar too would get connected to Delhi through this road network,” a senior UPEIDA official said.
This will spur economic activity in eastern UP, bring investment and jobs,” said Awanish Awasthi, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, and UPEIDA CEO.
The four-lane Bundelkhand Expressway is likely to be completed by March next year, almost a year before schedule and just ahead of the 2022 UP assembly elections. It will start at Chitrakoot and pass through Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Auraiya, it will end at Etawah where this expressway will join Agra-Lucknow Expressway.
Not only will it bring the remote areas of the region to the expressway network, but it will also drastically cut down the travel time. The travel time between Delhi and Chitrakoot district in Bundelkhand will come down to eight hours from 12-14 hours now via the Yamuna, Agra-Lucknow, Purvanchal and Bundelkhand expressways. Currently, there is no direct road link between Delhi and the Bundelkhand region.
The grid will be completed with two more expressways — the Gorakhpur Link Expressway and Ganga Expressway.
The four-lane, Rs 5,876-crore Gorakhpur Link Expressway will connect Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Ambedkarnagar and Sant Kabirnagar.
The six-lane Ganga Expressway will connect Meerut with Prayagraj (Allahabad). The land acquisition for this largest, over 600-km, expressway is underway.
While work is underway on the expressways, UPEIDA is also working on creating industrial hubs around the area. Work is also underway on the defence corridor project, where land is being allotted to defence companies to set up their manufacturing unit.