Addressing the ceremony, Modi said the expressway together with the UP Defence Corridor in Bundelkhand would transform the socioeconomic landscape of the region, facilitate defence hardware exports globally and become a major ‘Make in India’ hub in future.
Noting that the two projects were interlinked, he said Bundelkhand Expressway would energise the Defence Corridor, whose foundation was also laid by Modi last year. In the recent DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow, the Yogi Adityanath government had signed 23 memorandum of understanding (MoU) with private companies entailing total investment of Rs 50,000 crore in the Corridor.
The big factories, which will come up in Bundelkhand will further spur the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, benefit farmers and create large number of jobs for the local youth, he added.
“The development of UP depends upon connectivity, and the Yogi government is working at the speed of expressways,” he said obliquely referring to mega expressway projects in UP viz. Purvanchal Expressway, Bundelkhand Expressway, Ganga Expressway in addition to the two operational expressways of Yamuna Expressway and Agra-Lucknow Expressway.
The PM observed the expressway will also give impetus to tourism in the Bundelkhand region, especially Chitrakoot, since it is associated with Lord Ram. “Chitrakoot offers both natural and spiritual tourism potential. We are developing a ‘Ramayan Circuit’ for tourists and Chitrakoot is an important element in this plan.”
Once, the expressway is complete, more national and international tourists will arrive in the region, thus accelerating the setting up of tourism centric industries and creating jobs, Modi said adding earlier expressways were only associated with big cities of Delhi and Mumbai, but now it will connect the towns in Bundelkhand as well.
Meanwhile, Adityanath said the military equipment, which will be manufactured in UP Defence Corridor, will unleash its might on the country’s enemies.
Bundelkhand Expressway is a flagship project of the Adityanath government. It would link Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah districts. Last year, the state government had awarded the six packages of the Expressway to the selected bidders, which included Apco Infratech, Ashoka Buildcon, Gawar Construction and Dilip Buildcon.
So far, UPEIDA has acquired 97 per cent of the required 3,641 hectares for Bundelkhand Expressway and released Rs 2,100 crore towards land acquisition. The state is raising Rs 7,000 crore through a consortium of banks led by Bank of Baroda for the project.
The expressway will connect Bundelkhand with the national capital region (NCR) via Agra-Lucknow and Yamuna expressways. The project would start near Bharatkoop at Jhansi-Allahabad National Highway (NH) 35 in Chitrakoot district and terminate near village Kudrail, Etawah on Agra-Lucknow Expressway.