The UP Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) has purchased most of the land required for the Agra-Lucknow expressway, the longest in the country, at two to four times the prevailing circle rates and intends to follow the same model in an even bigger project being planned, its chief executive and chairman Navneet Sahgal has said.
The 320-km, six-lane, greenfield Agra-Lucknow Expressway is being built at a cost of Rs 13,000 crore. The state government is also considering extending the expressway from Lucknow to Mughalsarai and Ghazipur, a stretch of approximately 380 km.
Sahgal said that with 98% of the land required for the expressway in possession, UPEIDA was trying to start work on all structures by June 15 this year and complete them by June 2016. “Our target is to get the expressway operational by November 1, 2016,” Sahgal said.
As of May 29, 2015, UPEIDA needed to acquire only 61 hectares more for the 3,063 hectares needed for the project. The acquisition of 3,002 hectares of fertile land from 30,300 farmers was smooth and without a murmur of dissent, said Sahgal, adding it was possible only with a transparent approach and by not cutting corners on the issue of compensation.
The Agra-Lucknow expressway will be linked to the Yamuna Expressway for a seamless ride to those traveling between Delhi and the NCR, on the fringes of the national capital, cutting journey time from 10 hours to 5 hours.
“We worked on a very different model for this (Agra-Lucknow) project. Instead of acquiring land, we have purchased outright almost 2,841 hectares by offering a very lucrative offer of four times the circle rate for rural land and two times the circle rate for urban land. Only 161.5 hectares of land, which we were not able to purchase, was acquired though the land acquisition method. Acquisition was only considered where we failed to purchase it via mutual agreement,” he said.
Sahgal said the authority will get a feasability report done for the Lucknow-Mughalsarai and Lucknow-Ghazipur stretch, for which the same process of acquiring land will be employed. “Since this model of assembling land has proved to be a great success, we plan to repeat this for our future projects too.”
The 302-km expressway was first planned on the public-private partnership (PPP) model. But when it failed to attract investors due to the slowdown, the government decided to develop it on the EPC model. The entire stretch has been divided into five packages and will be developed by different players.
On fast track
UPEIDA chief Navneet Sahgal said that with 98% of the land required for the expressway in possession, it was trying to start work on all structures by June 15 this year and complete them by June 2016.
As of May 29, UPEIDA needed to acquire only 61 hectares more for the project. The acquisition of 3,002 hectares from 30,300 farmers was smooth and without a murmur of dissent, said Sahgal, adding it was possible only by not cutting corners on the issue of compensation.