HIGHWAYThe Uttar Pradesh government will raise more than Rs 9,000 crore in commercial bank loans to finance two highways. The two highway projects will cost more than Rs 20,000 crore to connect backward regions of Uttar Pradesh.

The 296 km Bundelkhand Expressway is estimated to cost Rs 14,849 crore and the 91 km Gorakhpur Link Expressway will see investment worth Rs 5,876 crore.

The government plans to raise Rs 7,000 crore and Rs 2,275 crore in bank loans, totalling Rs 9,275 crore.

The land acquisition for the two highways is estimated to cost Rs 3,766 crore. The state had tied up with Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Corporation Bank for loans of Rs 8,800 crore for bank rolling another under-construction, 340 km Purvanchal Expressway project.

So far, the government had released Rs 1,590 crore for land procurement for Bundelkhand Expressway, while the remaining Rs 612 crore will be raised through bank loans.

The State Cabinet on 20 August 2019 approved the amended bidding documents for both these projects. The Bundelkhand and Gorakhpur Link Expressways were earlier projected to cost Rs 14,716 crore and Rs 5,555 crore respectively, thus logging combined cost overruns of Rs 454 crore due to delays.

The government had acquired 90 percent of 3,641 ha for Bundelkhand Expressway, which is likely to boost economic activity in the arid region. The expressway will traverse Jhansi, Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah districts, and touch Agra-Lucknow Expressway at Etawah.

The 353 km Purvanchal Expressway, estimated to cost Rs 23,000 crore, entails acquisition of 4,332 ha of land. It will connect Eastern Uttar Pradesh with Central Uttar Pradesh and National Capital Region (NCR) via other expressways viz Agra-Lucknow Expressway (302 km) and Agra-Greater Noida Yamuna Expressway (165 km).

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