UPEIDA CEO begins physical verification of Lko-Agra Expressway
Lucknow: Kicking off the probe into Lucknow-Agra Expressway, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), Avnish Kumar Awasthi, himself collected the samples of the material used in its construction on Sunday.
The probe has been launched following the allegations of use of poor quality materials in the construction of former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's dream project.
Avnish Kumar Awasthi, along with a team of five engineers, travelled from Lucknow to Etawah via the Lucknwo-Agra Expressway. During the trip, they dug the expressway at five different places and sent the samples for testing to check if the norms of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) were met in its construction.
It may be recalled that the Yogi Adityanath government had earlier ordered to investigate if there were any irregularities in compensation given to the farmers for their lands. The 15000-crore Lucknow-Agra Expressway has been on radar of the Uttar Pradesh government since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took over the reins in the state.
A FIR has already been lodged against 22 officials with regards to land acquisition and payment of compensation in Firozabad district of the state on the direction of District Magistrate Neha Sharma.
The 301-km long state-of-the-art six-lane Expressway passes through ten districts Lucknow, Unnao, Kanpur Dehat, Mainpuri, Etawah, Auraiya, Hardoi, Kannuaj, Firozabad and Agra where 3,420 hectare land was acquired in about 230 villages from over 30,000 farmers. A lot of complaints were made over irregularities over the change of land use in order to benefit certain people, close to Samajwadi Party government.
The aspersions were cast on the execution of the project which had also figured in the speeches of various Bharatiya Janata Party leaders during UP assembly election campaigning. It came as no surprise that the Yogi-led BJP government ordered probe into the project almost immediately after it was in the saddle.
According to the spokesman, the probe included quality of construction, the cost escalation starting from Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore, the manner of land acquisition, payment of compensation and change of alignment of the Expressway, if done.