NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the Roads Ministry and the Uttar Pradesh government to fast-track the widening of Purvanchal’s lifeline, the Varanasi-Gorakhpur national highway, which is in bad shape and needs a six-hour drive to cover the 203-kilometer distance.
This project is many ways is a reflection of infrastructure in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency, as international tourists use this road to go to the two major Buddhist attractions in the state – Sarnath and Kushinagar.
During his last PRAGATI meeting, the Prime Minister took up the four-laning of the Varanasi-Gorakhpur national highway as a project among some others which needs expedited delivery. The PM has asked the UP government to expeditiously distribute the compensation amount to those whose land needs to be acquired and asked the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to scrutinize awards declared for the Gorakhpur, Mau and Ghazipur sections of the project as per availability of land. The UP government has been asked to expeditiously process the forest clearance proposal for the project as well.
This comes close on the heels of the Raods Ministry being asked to fast-track all national highway projects in Uttar Pradesh, ahead of the all-important elections in the most populous state next year.
Uttar Pradesh currently has 31 ongoing major national highway projects being constructed at the cost of Rs 19,400 crore. The total length of these projects is 2,156 kilometre. The ministry is looking at an early completion of these highways. There are 15 national highway projects worth Rs 6,000 crore that are in pipeline and DPR for projects worth Rs 14,000 crore are being prepared.
The ministry has declared 10 state highways as national highways and the cost of their upgradation would be Rs 8,100 crore. Around 35 roads have been declared as National Highways in principal (NOC yet to be received from state government) and the cost of their upgradation would be Rs 25,000 crore. The total investment in all national highways projects in Uttar Pradesh is expected to be at least Rs 60,000 crore.