Varanasi roads to get Rs 11,500-cr facelift

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New Delhi | May 18, 2015 12:43 AM

Around 670 km of roads will get a spruce-up over 2-3 years, with a a good part of the spend from the Centre’s budgetary resources

Roads in and around Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, are set to get a Rs 11,500-crore spruce-up. According to official sources, a good part of the envisaged spend will out of the Centre’s budgetary resources as the EPC model employed for many projects.

Of course, public-private partnership (PPP) and other hybrid models will also be tried in cases, whereever feasible.
Under the plan, around 670 km of existing roads will get a facelift over the next 2-3 years, the sources said, adding that most of these are two-lane roads that would be broadened to beautified four-lane stretches.

“Money would also be spent on beautifying the roads; railings and lights would be put up, pavements for pedestrians created. Planting trees and shrubs across these roads is also part of the plan,” an official from the ministry of road ministry and highways, said.

While widening work would soon start on a 17-km stretch connecting Babatpur airport to the main city and another 16 km connecting Sultanpur on NH 56 and Azamgarh on NH 233, eight other projects with an approximate length of 640 km are at the conception stage, but will indeed to be taken up.

The official said it has been decided that work on the first two projects would be taken up on the EPC mode,  wherein the government would invest the entire Rs 950 crore. These projects would be completed in the next two years. “We did not try any other models. These two would be done through the EPC mode only,” he said.’’’

However, the BOT model would be tried initially for the remaining eight projects and, if the response is not encouraging, hybrid models could be looked at for completing these projects. The hybrid model, as reported by FE recently, could attract private investors as they are somewhat insulated from project risk — the government will bear 40% of the project cost and assume most part of the revenue risk in case of projects facing viability issues.

The official said widening work had become imperative considering the shabby condition of roads in the temple city.“There were also directives from the PMO to take up the job as fast as possible,” he added.

The road ministry official said that within 6-7 months, all formalities for awarding contracts would be formalised so that the projects could be completed in 2-3 years. The UP government would do the land acquisition for these projects while the Centre would bear the cost.

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