The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has given go-ahead for building two highways at a cost of more than Rs 14,500 crore in Bundelkhand and Eastern Uttar Pradesh regions. The project aims at creating 60,000 new jobs in the backward regions.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, approved engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to financial bidders selected by a committee in October 2019.

The 296 km long Bundelkhand Expressway and 91 km Gorakhpur Link Expressway will cost around Rs 9,921 crore and Rs 4,587 crore respectively.

The highways will take 36 months each for completion, and companies will be paid five percent incentive of the contracted amount if they complete the work in 30 months. Also, companies will be fined if they miss the 36-month deadline.

Bundelkhand Expressway has been divided into six packages, while Gorakhpur Link Expressway is divided into two packages respectively for their speedier completion.

Owing to competitive bidding, the state stands to save Rs 1,229 crore vis-à-vis their combined estimated expenditure on civil works noted the Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA).

The Cabinet cleared the proposal to award different packages of Bundelkhand Expressway to selected bidders — Apco Infratech, Ashoka Buildcon, Gawar Construction and Dilip Buildcon.

So far, UPEIDA has acquired 94 percent of 3,641 ha for Bundelkhand Expressway, which will cut across Jhansi, Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah districts, and touch Agra-Lucknow Expressway at Etawah. The government has already released Rs 2,157 crore towards land acquisition, while Rs 7,000 crore in bank loan had been availed of.

The Cabinet approved the awarding of contracts for Gorakhpur Link Expressway to the lowest bidders Apco Infratech and Dilip Buildcon. The project will cover Gorakhpur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar and Azamgarh districts.

Over 54 percent of the required land has been acquired for the project. Also, the state has already released Rs 940 crore towards land acquisition,while Rs 2,275 crore had been taken from banks as loans to complete the project.

At present, nine mega projects are under various stages of development across the state under UPEIDA, namely Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Purvanchal Expressway, Bundelkhand Expressway, Gorakhpur Link Expressway, Ganga Expressway, Ballia Link Expressway, Defence Manufacturing Corridor, Semi High-speed Rail Corridor and electric charging stations.

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