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Mayawati to build 1000-km Ganga Expressway
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
September 05, 2007 19:40 IST
Five centuries after the Afghan ruler Sheh Shah Suri built the Grand Trunk Road as India's first major highway, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati is all ready to repeat the feat.
If Suri used the right side of the Bahujan Samajwadi Party government will utilise the "unused" left side of the river to build the country's longest access-control expressway.
Global tenders will be floated to build the road, while the government will take care of the administrative part.
"The 1000-km Ganga expressway will be built to not only bring the two far ends of the state closer, but to also reduce the commuting time between the remote parts of backward eastern UP to the rich western UP and New Delhi," Mayawati told a press conference on Wednesday.
"The country's longest access-control eight-lane expressway will reduce the commuting time between Ballia and Noida by half," she said.
"The expressway, to be built entirely in the private sector, will bring an investment of about Rs 40,000 crore -- the highest ever in the history of Uttar Pradesh," the chief minister said.
She said, 'The state government will simply act as a facilitator in terms of procuring all the necessary clearances and providing land for the purpose."
The proposed expressway will also include setting of commercial hubs along its 1000- km stretch--which is expected to generate a lot of employment through increased business activities.
Mayawati said, "A lot of perishable agricultural produce from eastern UP cannot reach the thriving markets in west UP simply because of poor and congested roads."
Cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said, "We hope to kick-start the project by January 2008 and will try to ensure its completion in three-five years."
"The new expressway will enable completion of the journey between Lucknow and New Delhi in less than five hours while the 850-km stretch between Varanasi and Delhi will be covered in 8 hours," said Singh ,who conceived the project.
"Not only the country's first highway -- the GT road -- was conceived and planned by Sher Shah Suri 500 years ago along the right back of the Ganga , but all towns also came up along this bank only over the centuries. That is why we decided to utilize the virtually barren and vacant left bank to build the new expressway,' Singh said.
Singh said global bids would be floated and the state was confident that the project would attract major players from all over.