Yogi govt orders on the spot verification of Lko-Agra Expressway
Lucknow: The probe into 15000-crore Lucknow-Agra Expressway, dream project of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, will enter another crucial phase on Sunday when an expert team will do physical verification of the construction quality.
In a first of its kind, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UP Expressway Development Authority (UPEIDA) Avnish Kumar Awasthi will lead the team to dig out expressway at 4-5 places to check if the norms of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) were met in construction of the project which embroiled into controversy since Yogi government came and ordered probe into alleged irregularities in the execution.
An official spokesman told newstrack.com that the physical verification would form the part of comprehensive inquiry already in place. 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.