Photo: Illustration only/Wikimedia Commons

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the four laning of Sultanpur-Varanasi section of NH-56 in Uttar Pradesh. This will substantially upgrade Varanasi’s connectivity to state capital Lucknow and other parts of central Uttar Pradesh. The total capital cost of this 138-km long stretch will be around Rs.3,800 crore.

The CCEA also approved the four-laning of the Varanasi to Ghazipur and Gorakhpur and further to Nepal section of NH-29, also in Uttar Pradesh. This is likely to improve regional connectivity and facilitate improved movement of people and goods in the region and across the border. The four laning of this 200-km road will cost approximately Rs.4,400 crore.

In another decision, the CCEA also approved the four laning and two laning with paved shoulders of Madurai-Ramanathapuram section of NH-49 in Tamil Nadu. This work will be under the National Highways Development Project, Phase-III, and span a total length of 115 km with a total capital cost of about Rs.1,400 crore. The project is likely to be completed in two-and-a-half years from the date of award.

These projects are expected to strengthen the national highway network across the country, especially in regions where there has been a chronic shortfall. In this context, despite market-related constraints, a total length of 8,000 km of national highways was awarded in 2014-15.

In total, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the strengthening and widening of 455 km of national highways with a total capital cost of about Rs.9,500 crore, to be borne by the Government of India.

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