Mayawati launches several developmental projects on 52nd B'day

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Lucknow, Jan 15(UNI) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, who is celebrating her 52nd birthday today, announced a slew of developmental schemes including the most ambitious Rs 40,000 crore Ganga Expressway project and a developmental package of Rs 1600 crore for the drought-hit areas of the state.

The Chief Minister also announced setting up of a ultra mega 4000 megawatt power plant, a joint venture with NTPC at Lalitpur in Bundelkhand region and Health Insurance Scheme for the Below poverty Line (BPL) families.

Launching the developmental projects, Ms Mayawati laid the foundation stone for the 1000-km eight-lane Ganga express and said such a big project was underway in the country for the first time to enable people cover the entire distance within 10 hours.

The Chief Minister, however, criticised the opposition political parties for protesting against the project and maintained that they were against development.

Cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said the environment clearance for the project had already been given by the Centre, while the displacement might be zero as most of the land required for the same belonged to the state government.

He also maintained that the CM herself was directing the officials about the precautions to be taken for the farmers' problems in the project which forced the government to announce a pro-people rehabilitation policy.

'' The Detailed Project Report(DPR) would be available soon,'' he added.

The Chief Minister said that after completion of the Expressway, the entire region would have industrial units and employment opportunities would be created on a large scale'', As per expectations, about 500 large and 7000 medium and small industries would be set up along the expressway with three lakh people to get direct employment,'' she maintained.

''This expressway would be unique in feature as it would be constructed on flood control embankments of Ganga. While it will ensure smooth transport facilities, it would stop erosion of land and save lakhs of hectares of cultivable land,'' she said, adding that large number of people residing in villages situated on the banks of river Ganga and facing the fury of floods year after year would be the biggest beneficiaries of this project.

Jaiprakash Industries was likely to be awarded the coveted project event though the official word in this regard had yet to come in, sources said.

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