The Rs 36,230-crore, 594 km long Ganga Expressway has received environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest. With 94% land acquired for the six-lane, access-controlled greenfield project and all statutory clearances in hand, work on the project is likely to begin soon.
Talking to FE, Avanish Awasthi, UP Home Secretary and Chief Executive of Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), the nodal agency of the project said that the project would be completed in 2025. “Clearing and grubbing work has already begun. We have a deadline to finish the project in 36 months,” he said, adding that once operational, the expressway will reduce travel time between Delhi and Prayagraj from the current 10-11 hours to just 6-7 hours.
The expressway, which would connect Meerut in the western part of Uttar Pradesh to Prayagraj in the east, is being executed on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. While IRB Infrastructure Developers will build one of the four packages from Meerut to Amroha, Adani Enterprises will build three packages from Amroha to Prayagraj. While IRB will construct 134 km of the expressway, Adani Enterprises will construct the remaining 460 kms.
“The expressway will change the landscape of the eastern part of the state. It will act as an industrial corridor and connect far-flung production units and agricultural production centres to the national capital. By reducing the travel time from Meerut to Prayagraj, it would provide a huge impetus to the perishable agri products industry and also act as a catalyst for establishment of new industrial units, food processing units, dairy industry as well as small and medium units in the region,” he said.
It may be mentioned that in order to get the project rolling, UPEIDA has secured a loan of Rs 4,480 crore from Punjab National Bank for the purchase of land. This has been done by securitising the toll revenues of the already operational Agra-Lucknow Expressway. “The loan amount has been made available in lieu of the securitisation of toll revenues from the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. This is the first project in UP where we have moved towards monetisation,” said Awasthi, adding that by doing so, the government has created additional revenue for the Ganga Expressway project.
According to a spokesperson of Adani Enterprises, work on giving shape to the expressway has begun and efforts are on to finish the project before time. “Our effort would be to optimise efforts and complete construction within 28 months,” he said.
The expressway will pass through 12 districts – Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Sambhal, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh and Prayagraj.