Within a few days of winning a historic mandate in Uttar Pradesh, the Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved a Rs 2,147-crore project for the widening of Handia-Varanasi highway. This was just one of the few decisions taken by the Cabinet for Uttar Pradesh. During the election campaign, which resulted in 325 seats for BJP and its allies, PM Modi had made several promises in UP. All of them were outlined in the party’s ‘Sankalp Patra’ (manifesto) also.
It seems the party has already started taking steps, even as the BJP government in the state is yet to take oath. The party hasn’t even declared who will be the Chief Minister of the state.
As far as Handia-Varanasi project is concerned, it has political, spiritual as well as economic relevance for the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. The project also marks a departure from the previous governments’ focus on the western and central parts of the state. Ex-CM Akhilesh took pride in developing the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, while his predecessor Mayawati had built the Delhi-Agra Expressway. Akhilesh had planned to build Lucknow-Ballia expressway, which couldn’t be realised because of SP loss in the recently concluded elections.
Here are all important facts you should know about Handia-Varanasi highway project and why it will boost BJP in 2019:
- The six-laning of Highway in eastern Uttar Pradesh will boost PM Modi’s image in the region.
- After completion, the project will reduce the travel time between two important religious and spiritual places of the state — Varanasi and Allahabad — and help boost religious tourism as well.
- At present the Handia-Varanasi road is stretched in around 87 kilometre and it takes over 3 hours to cover the distance. The widening of road will allow people to cover the distance in around 1.5 hours.
- The road will also reduce the travel time between Allahabad and Varanasi, and help increase regular bus services between Allahabad and Patna via Varanasi. All of this will keep the BJP in good stead during the 2019 General Election in the eastern UP.
- The Handia-Varanasi project, which is a section of National Highway-2 in UP, has been awarded under government’s flagship road building programme – National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V.
- The project will be built on the Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM) at a cost of approx Rs 2,147.33 crore including the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities.
- The total length of the road will be approximately 73 kms,” the statement said.
- The project will lead to the improvement of infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh and reduce the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying on this stretch.
- The development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of the concerned regions of the state and would also increase employment potential for local labourers for project activities.
- It has been estimated that a total number of 4,076 man days are required for construction of one kilometre of highways. As such, employment potential of 3,00,000 (approx.) man days will be generated locally during the construction period of the project.
(With inputs from PIB)