Politics delays Yamuna Expressway

Politics delays Yamuna Expressway

Inauguration held up due to polls

The Jaypee group has postponed the opening of its mega project, the 165-km Yamuna Expressway, which originally was set to be opened on January 15 on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s birthday.

The inauguration has been delayed by two months. Company officials said this time would be used to complete the toll plazas at four points in Agra, Mathura, Aligarh and Gautam Buddha Nagar on the expressway.

Anil Kumar Singh, nodal officer of the project told mediapersons that due to the code of conduct imposed by the Election Commission, the facility would be opened only in the last week of March.

The expressway, according to officials, would be ready by January 31. In February, there would be trials and in March, it would be opened to the public after the formation of a government in Lucknow.

The original date of completion of the project was June 2013. But the Jaypee group stepped up the work to finish it in record time.

Chief Minister Mayawati had in fact set December 15 as the date for its opening, so that the credit for the mega project would have gone to her government. But unexpected delays prevented her from taking advantage of the situation.

According to Rajiv Rautela, chief executive officer of the project, the delay had been caused by the continuing cold spell. Also yet to be completed are two inter-changes, land-scaping, plantation, fresh guards installation and some finishing work.

The expressway forced the Central government to bring a new land acquisition legislation, after farmers’ agitations in Tappal, Noida and Agra.

The political fallout of the agitations has been a steep hike in the original cost from Rs 3,500 crore to around Rs 10,000 crore.

The expressway will reduce travelling time between Delhi and Agra by half. A high-way police station will also be opened mid-way.