The Uttar Pradesh government is planning five more expressways in the state even before it signs the concession agreement for the Rs40,000 crore Ganga Expressway project awarded in January.
And yet again, just as in the case of the Ganga Expressway, the proposed highways are coming up in the vicinity of the highways being developed by the National Highways Authority of India, or NHAI, the roads regulator.
“We will not approach the Centre for any kind of assistance in funding. As in the case of the Ganga Expressway, we will raise resources for these projects by leveraging land,” said an official, who was involved in the planning of the Ganga Expressway project as well, but did not wish to be identified.
The tender for the Ganga Expressway project, which will connect Greater Noida with Ballia, was awarded to Jaypee Infratech Ltd in January. The concessionaire is expected to be leased around 7,000ha of land for commercial development in order to construct the expressway.
Country roads: The Greater Noida expressway. UP had awarded the tender for the Rs40,000 crore Ganga Expressway project, which will connect Greater Noida with Baflia, to Jaypee Infratech Ltd in January. (Madhu Kapparath / Mint)
Jaypee had sought land worth Rs293.55 crore for property development along the expressway in order to construct the expressway.
The five proposed expressways will have a combined length of around 1,400km.
“We do not have a clear idea as to how much land will be required to be set aside for these projects, but we will be able to work out those details only after a few months,” the same official said.
The proposed expressways include the Greater Noida-Saharanpur-Dehradun (in partnership with the Uttarakhand state government) stretch apart from Jhansi-Lucknow, Lucknow-Gorakhpur, Agra-Kanpur-Lucknow and Farrukhabad-Kotdwar expressways.
The proposal for these projects is being developed by the state public works department. “First we will seek environmental clearance for these projects and then the proposals will go to the state cabinet for approval,” the official said.
Planning Commission member Anwarul Hoda said that the apex planning organization in the country has not yet been informed about the state’s plans to go in for more expressways. “We have not been told about these projects,” he said.
Earlier, the Planning Commission had held discussions with the UP administration on the Ganga Expressway project in order to see whether the project linked up with existing highway networks in the state. It gave the go-ahead despite the overlap with the highways being developed by NHAI.
“Tolling on these roads will barely pay for operations and management expenses,” said a consultant with a project management company, who did not wish to be quoted. “Remember, these roads are along the same alignment as existing NHAI national highways, which means traffic is going to be shared. So, the capital cost recovery will come from the land component only. If you are in the business of building highways, then why do you need all this land.”
Rahul Chandran contributed to this story.