BJP betting on big projectsUP CM Yogi Adityanath

Virendra Singh Rawat

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is harping on the mega infra projects especially expressways for a pro-development narrative in the 2024 Lok Sabha electioneering.

The party is sanguine the expressway projects either commissioned or launched under the current Yogi Adityanath government will help the party win the vote and support of the electorate.

Interestingly, UP has the largest expressway network in India. Big infra projects boost the local economy, push land prices, generate employment and provide fast transport to farm produce and MSMEs.

These expressways cover more than 40 of the total 75 districts, while UP ranks first in terms of the expressway length in India.

With roughly 1,225 km of operational expressways, the state accounts for almost 45 percent of India’s composite length of expressways. After the under-construction expressways are completed, the total length of the expressways in UP would exceed 1,900 km.
The expressway projects in UP commissioned or under-construction post-2017, after Yogi became the CM, have a budget outlay of nearly Rs 80,000 crore.

Two expressway projects viz. 340-km Purvanchal Expressway and 296-km Bundelkhand Expressway were inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2021 and July 2022 respectively.

Modi gave the namesake of ‘Express Pradesh’ to UP owing to the large number of expressways and the ‘speed of governance’ under Yogi.

Besides, the under-construction expressways comprise Meerut-Prayagraj 594-km Ganga Expressway and 91-km Gorakhpur Link Expressway being developed by the UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA). The two projects are estimated to cost the UP exchequer more than Rs 42,000 crore.

Ganga Expressway, which covers 12 districts extending from Western UP to Eastern UP, will incur Rs 36,000 crore and is likely to be commissioned by December 2024.

Other expressways, being developed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in UP, include 63-km Lucknow-Kanpur Expressway and 380-km Ghaziabad-Kanpur Expressway.

Two expressway projects viz. Greater Noida-Agra 165-km Yamuna Expressway and 302-km Agra-Lucknow Expressway were commissioned during the tenure of former CMs Mayawati (2007-12) and Akhilesh Yadav (2021-17) respectively.

Interestingly, Yogi Adityanath, in the 2022 UP assembly polls, broke the jinx with expressway projects by returning to power unlike his two immediate predecessors – Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.

His predecessors, despite commissioning an expressway each during their regimes, lost power. Adityanath not only returned to power, the BJP reclaimed power with more seats than 2022 vis-à-vis 2017 UP polls.

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