Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the 341-kilometre-long Purvanchal Expressway in Uttar Pradesh connecting Chandsarai village near Lucknow and Ghazipur in eastern part of the state.
Modi landed on an IAF C-130 Hercules plane on a 3.2-km airstrip built on the expressway for emergency landing of fighter aircraft of the IAF.
Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath received the PM.
Stating that the BJP was writing a new chapter of development in UP, Modi said the expressway will “bring multiple benefits for UP’s economic and social progress”.
Attacking rival parties ahead of next year’s assembly election, he said “development under previous chief ministers was limited to places where they had homes and families”.
Citing the short time within which such a huge project was completed, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said this is a prime example of how a “double engine” government functions, referring to the BJP governments at the Centre and state.
Samajwadi Party chief and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said the BJP was trying to take credit for the work of SP.
“The ribbon came from Lucknow and the scissors came from New Delhi. There is a ‘Khichham-Khichai’ to take credit for the work of SP. It is hoped that till now the people of Lucknow sitting alone must have memorised the length of the ‘Samajwadi Purvanchal Expressway,” he said in a tweet.
Akhilesh also accused the BJP government of trying to compromise the quality of the road by launching it ahead of the elections.
The road show
An air show comprising a number of IAF planes like Sukhoi, Mirage, Rafale, AN 32 was held, with several planes touching down and taking off at the Purvanchal expressway.
The expressway has 18 flyovers, seven rail-over-bridges, seven long bridges, 104 minor bridges.
It begins from Chandsarai village and passes through Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau and ends at Haldaria village in Ghazipur district. It will reduce travel time from Lucknow to Ghazipur from 6 hours to 3.5 hours. From Ghazipur, which lies on the Bihar border, travellers can easily move to that state.
Although it does not have petrol pumps, food stalls or other amenities, stop areas with such facilities are being built at every 100 km.
The expressway, whose foundation stone was laid by Modi in Azamgarh in 2018, is built at about ₹22,500 crore. Currently six-lane, it would be expandable up to eight lanes.