UP, UP AND AWAY
Construction Week|November 2020
Awanish Kumar Awasthi, CEO, Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), has taken on the onerous task of completing five massive ongoing infrastructure projects
JAYASHREE KINI MENDES

Perhaps there’s no other state in India that is see-ing so much action as much as Uttar Pradesh is. With five massive projects on a steady work-in-progress, it is perhaps the only state that is investing on rapid infrastructure development. Hitherto, it was also one of the states that have the largest population by density and a lethargic attitude to development. But that is now history.

The idea to rapidly develop and complete large-scale expressways that will connect Uttar Pradesh to other parts of the country was conceived by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and this responsibility has been thrust on the able shoulders of Awanish Kumar Awasthi, CEO, Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA). The bureaucrat has been working diligently with government projects and companies and has a reputation for being fair, honest and upright. Besides, he is also the state additional chief secretary (home) for Uttar Pradesh.

THINKING BIG

One of the earliest projects to be proposed was the ambitious Purvanchal expressway. Close on the heels of the project came Bundelkhand expressway, Gorakhpur Link expressway, UP Defence Corridor, and Ganga expressway. All the projects are being executed at a whopping Rs 84,000 crore!

It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who laid the foundation for Purvanchal and Bundelkhand expressways. Similarly, it was the PM who announced the UP Defence Corridor project at the first UP Investors Summit in 2018.

Ask Awasthi the reason for taking on such large-scale projects, and he says, “Most of the regions of UP were highly underdeveloped. If one must see progress in a state, it’s necessary to build world-class infrastructure that will attract investors. The other part to these developments is making it easier for people to traverse the length and breadth of the country while creating job opportunities.”

The Rs 22,000 crore 341km six-lane Purvanchal expressway is expected to be completed by January and thrown open to the public. Awasthi says, “The expressway is more than 60% complete. It will be the backbone for eastern UP and will connect nine districts such as Lucknow, Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Ayodhya, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau, and Ghazipur. The idea is to not just spruce up infrastructure but also grow the agricultural and food processing sectors. Interestingly, the pace of work is so quick on Purvanchal expressway that the project is scheduled to complete three months before the deadline!”

What makes it world-class? The Purvanchal expressway alone has seven railway over-bridges, seven major bridges, 112 minor bridges, 11 interchanges, seven toll plazas, four ramp plazas, 220 underpasses and 496 culverts. The Sultanpur end will also have a 3.2km airstrip. Besides, provision has been made for rain water harvesting, by providing rain water harvesting structures at 500 m intervals interval on both sides of the expressway. For safety and security of the traffic, state-of-the-art Advanced Traffic Management Systems will be provided.

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