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Ganga Expressway to link Ballia with Noida

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POLICYMAKERS: Chief minister Mayawati with Cabinet colleagues at her residence in Lucknow on Wednesday.
POLICYMAKERS: Chief minister Mayawati with Cabinet colleagues at her residence in Lucknow on Wednesday.

Special correspondent

Work on 853-km-long eight-lane expressway likely to start in January 2008

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Wednesday unveiled an ambitious road project that would link the backward Eastern UP with the more prosperous Western UP. The Ganga Expressway Project from Ballia to Noida was granted Cabinet approval on Wednesday and the work on building the 853- km-long access-controlled eight-lane expressway is likely to begin in January 2008.

Environmental clearance for the project costing around Rs. 40,000 crore was obtained from the Union Government on August 29. The project would be developed by private promoters with the State Government playing the role of a facilitator. The State Government is in the process of appointing consultants for the project and the open competitive bidding process would be launched once the techno-economic feasibility report is obtained from the consultants.

Land for developing the project would be given to private players at acquisition cost with the developers allowed to develop residential, industrial and institutional areas for making it economically viable for the promoters.

Inspiration for building the Ganga Expressway was sought from Sher Shah Suri, who built the Grand Trunk Road in the 16th Century after temporarily displacing Humayun from the Mughal throne. In fact, a visual presentation on the project at the Chief Minister’s official residence at 5 Kalidas Marg here drew a parallel with the legendary G T Road. But unlike Suri’s G T Road which ran alongside the right bank of the Ganga, Ms. Mayawati’s expressway would be built on the left bank of the river.

Unveiling the project, the Chief Minister said at a press conference here that the expressway would originate from Ballia and pass through Ghazipur, Ramnagar, Varanasi, Chunar, Bhadohi, Mirzapur, Allahabad, Unchahar, Unnao, Kanpur, Bithoor, Kannauj, Fatehgarh, Budaun, Narora and Bulandshahr before reaching Noida. A small part of the expressway between Noida and Narora would not run along the course of the river, she added.

Ms. Mayawati said the expressway would be constructed on the proposed marginal embankment to be built by the State Irrigation Department for controlling floods on the left bank of the Ganga. From Narora the expressway will be built on the embankment on the left bank of the river up to Narainpur in Ghazipur district. When completed, the travel time between Eastern and Western UP would be cut short by 16 hours and it would take around eight hours to zip across from Varanasi to Delhi.

Besides, linked expressways have also been proposed. These are Jhansi-Kanpur Link Expressway, Kanpur-Gorakhpur Link Expressway, Agra-Kanpur Link Expressway and Baghpat-Saharanpur- Hardwar-Dehradun Link Expressway.

The Chief Minister emphasised that the network of world class roads will speed up development of the State and also help in removing regional imbalances.

Explaining the nuances of the project, Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said the river embankment would be widened to cover a width of 100 metres for the eight-lane expressway. He said it would open up employment opportunities and give a fillip to tourism, besides ensuring the revival of towns like Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Kannauj and Bithoor.

He said satellite mapping had been done and the expressway would be situated about 1.5 km away from the water flow. The river’s drainage system will not be disturbed and the displacement of population will be minimal. The proposed expressway will have four major bridges, three major bridges on canals, eight railway over bridges, 256 small bridges, 60 flyovers and 225 underpasses.

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