Maya to lay foundation of Ganga Expressway project

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Lucknow, Jan 14: The ambitious Rs 30,000 crore, over 1000 km eight lane Ganga Expressway, to be launched by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati tomorrow, is likely to generate political heat in the state following announcement of protest by the Samajwadi Party and BJP against the project. Yesterday, the UP government had selected five companies after competiting bidding for this mega project. Gamon India Consortium, Unitech Ltd, Jhoom India Consortium, Reliance Energy Consortium and J P Associates had been selected after final bidding.

The evaluation committee had received 15 bids by different companies but only five could make it to the final selection. The selected companies had given a total of 14 proposals for the project in the fields of finance, price evaluation and technical studies. However, reports said J P Associates might be awarded the project for all the four phases but no official confirmation was forthcoming.

An empowered committee, headed by Chief Secretary P K Mishra, today approved the bids and now after a nod from the state cabinet, the names of the companies getting the contract will be announced tomorrow by the Chief Minister herself.

The Express highway is to be completed in four phases and Ms Mayawati will lay the foundation stone for the project on her 52nd birthday tomorrow.

Srei Infrastructure along with its consortium partners, including RITES, which had advised the state government on the eightlane highway project to be laid alongside the Ganges river over a stretch of 1,047 km, is set to identify the developers from a list of 15 bidders shortlisted sometime ago.

The advisors and the state government's UP Expressway Development Authority have already formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) which will eventually induct the developer partners.

Each winning bidder will be given a 250-km stretch to build the expressway. The who's who of the infrastructure developer scene in India have bid for the proposed project.

The expressway is expected to reduce the travel time from Delhi-Noida to the eastern most part of the state from about 24 hours at present to about 8-10 hours, saving time as well as costs.

The Ganga Expressway will have several link expressways to bring all parts of the state onto the economic bandwagon.

Meanwhile, the SP and BJP have announced to launch mass agitation against the project from tomorrow.

BJP spokesperson Hridya Narain Dikshit said people will hold demonstration to oppose the project which will certainly have a bad impact on the environmental front besides farmers will have to loose their fertile land.

He said BJP state president Rampati Ram Tripathi will lead the agitation in Allahabad and leader of the BJP legislture party Om Prakash Singh at Varanasi tomorrow.

Several other leaders of the party will be leading the agitation in other districts, Mr Dikshit said.

On the other hand the SP has appointed an in-charge to lead the agitation in 16 districts, through which the expressway would pass. SP's state unit working president Shivpal Singh Yadav has directed all party workers to make the agitation a success with the support of the people annoyed with the project. Among bidders shortlisted from a pack of 22 developer consortia are the GMR group-led by GMR Energy, Reliance Energy-Reliance Communications, Gammon Infrastructure Projects in consortium with Macquarie Securities (Asia) Pte, Unitech, DLF, Bajaj Hindusthan in consortium with Apollo Enterprises and DS Construction, Zoom Developers in consortium with Centrodorstroy India&Bhola Singh Jai Prakash Construction, Galfar, a multi-disciplined engineering, contracting and construction company in the Sultanate of Oman along with its consortia and Punj Lloyd.

While the road project envisages a financial outlay of over Rs 30,000 crore, developers are making a beeline for the 77,000 hectares which will be made available along the expressway . The UP government has also decided to hand over the land in four different packages for four different road sections. Such land will be made available for high-end infrastructure development along the expressway corridor spanning economic, residential, industrial and commercial and is aimed at boosting all-round economic growth in the state.

Rough estimates from the state government suggest that such infrastructure development will entail an additional investment of Rs 75,000-80,000 crore.

The expressway would originate from Ballia in the remote, underdeveloped part of the state to the national capital's suburb of Noida.

It will pass through Ghazipur, Ramnagar, Varanasi, Chunar, Bhadohi, Mirzapur, Allahabad, Unchahar, Unnao, Kanpur, Bithoor, Kannauj, Fatehgarh, Budaun, Narora and Bulandshahr before touching Noida. A small part of the expressway between Noida and Narora would not run along the course of the river.


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