Yamuna Expressway opens amid protest

Image courtesy WikipediaThe six-lane Yamuna Expressway that would reduce travel from Delhi to the Taj city of Agra to two-and-a-half hours, was thrown open to the public on Thursday evening.

The 165-km-long expressway was inaugurated by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in the state capital via video conferencing on Thursday while the SP Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav launched it at Noida in the presence of senior officials and public representatives.

Though the travel time to Agra would be reduced by 3-4 hours, commuters using the expressway would have to shell out a hefty toll tax. The developer has, however, decided not to charge the toll tax till August 15, the Independence Day.

The project was launched by the previous Mayawati government, but the credit would now go to the SP regime. “It can not be helped...the board will have our names'', said the chief minister. Farmers led by the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), however, held a demonstration and blocked the expressway near Mathura in protest against lack of service lanes and highway exit. The project courted controversy ever since it was launched. The agitation by the farmers at Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida, protesting acquisition of their lands by the government had turned violent and claimed lives of two farmers and two policemen last year.

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