The much-vaunted ‘kaam bolta hai’ (work speaks) slogan of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is facing a litmus test in the battle of ballots today in the state capital, the crucible of his dream projects. Akhilesh has used the development card to the hilt during his campaign across the state, often highlighting his work in and around Lucknow, the city of Nawabs. Doing away with traditional Samajwadi Party politics hinged on caste equations and dependence on “M-Y” (Muslim- Yadav) factor, the 43-year-old chief minister decided to test his popularity riding on the crest of development, his new found mantra to retain power. It is but natural for him to sell his pet projects – Lucknow Metro, Gomti riverfront and Janeshwar Misra Park – to woo the electorate. He has also been highlighting the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, establishing state-of-the-art hospital in the capital and facilities to give employment to local youth. Voters in nine Assembly seats, seven of which was won by the SP and another by its recent ally Congress, will give their opinion on the development projects. Their verdict will be out on March 11.
The BJP and the BSP, which have been challenging the SP chief’s claims of ‘kaam bolta hai’ are not leaving anything to chance by taking the fight to the voters, highlighting the shortcomings in the works which they said have been carried out in haste and flagged off even without achieving full completion. The Lucknow Metro project has become a key issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ridiculing it for the green signal given even before it was thrown open to public. While Akhilesh put the ball in the Centre’s court for the delay in unveiling the Metro project, BSP chief Mayawati has claimed it to be her brainchild that was hijacked by the SP government and projected as their own.
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The much-hyped 302-km Agra-Lucknow expressway, aimed at reducing travel time from 6 hours to 3.30 hours between the two cities, has landing and take off facility for fighter planes in case of emergency.
It was inaugurated on the birthday of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav in November last year and also opened for public, though detractors allege that certain stretches are still under construction and proper security measures have still to be brought in the ground.
The Lucknow Metro, a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), is another dream project of Akhilesh to solve the ever growing traffic snarls in the capital.
The commencement of civil works started in September, 2014 and the trial run on the first lane was conducted in December last year as promised by the ambitious chief minister. It is expected to be operational for public by March.
The metro project which will be the most expensive public transport system in the state, will cover 140 km in the city in total 4 phases in next 25 years and will be an alternative mode of transport.
The Gomti riverfront, developed along the river flowing from the centre of the city of Nawabs, is already making waves as the new centre of attraction.
The project included de-silting of the river, constructing Diaphragm Wall, beautification and development of a green belt along both sides of the river.
It also includes proper illumination of barrage and bridges along both banks of the river.
Besides building flyovers, the government has ambitious projects to set up in its outskirts medical facilities, sports hub, training centre for engineering students, malls and residences. These will provide both housing as well as employment opportunities.
The medical facility boasts of all world class amenities like a super-speciality Cancer Institute with 500 beds.
A 100-acre IT city which can train and recruit many engineering students within campus, an international cricket stadium with seating capacity of about 70,000 and several multi-storey residential projects and commercial complexes will also come up in the same complex.
The area on the periphery of Lucknow would also witness UP’s biggest milk processing centre with 2 big companies setting up plant here.
AMUL has already built a milk processing plant of 5 lakh litre capacity per day while Parag has set up a training centre for its soon to be established 3 lakh litre milk processing plant. This dairy hub will also have a 50,000 litre daily ice-cream manufacturing plant.
The city has also got a sprawling Janeshwar Misra park spread over 376 acres, claimed to be Asia’s largest garden.
It was developed at a cost of Rs 168 crore and was modeled on the pattern of Hyde Park in London.