The 341 km long Purvanchal Expressway, a flagship project of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, is facing teething troubles and is not attracting even half the traffic that was estimated.
The tolling agency, Prakash Asphaltings and Toll Highways (India) Ltd, has quit the contract citing collection of only 45 per cent of the targeted toll.
Between May 1 and 26, the agency collected less than Rs 7.5 crore against the target of Rs 17 crore.
According to sources, the recent board meeting of UP Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), zeroed in on three reasons for low toll collection.
Three reasons are the non-completion of the Lucknow Outer Ring Road, the incomplete bridge on Ganga at Buxar Bihar, and the high toll for heavy vehicles.
These three reasons are limiting the traffic from using the new expressway.
According to UPEIDA sources, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has informed that the Lucknow Ring Road and the bridge near Buxar will be ready by December 2022.
The UPEIDA is also considering reducing the toll price on heavy vehicles as it is almost 20 per cent more than the toll levied by NHAI on the National Highways.
Light motor vehicles such as cars pay Rs 675 as toll tax on the Purvanchal Expressway, light commercial vehicles pay Rs 1,065, while heavy vehicles have to pay Rs 2,145 as toll tax on the road.
The Purvanchal Expressway was inaugurated in November 2021 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The expressway starts from village Chaudsarai in Lucknow, located on Lucknow-Sultanpur Road (NH-731) and ends at village Hydaria situated on National Highway No. 31, near the Uttar Pradesh-Bihar border.
The expressway is six-lane wide and can be expanded to eight-lane in future.
Constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 22,500 crore, the Purvanchal Expressway is designed to benefit the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, especially Lucknow, Barabanki, Amethi, Ayodhya, Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur districts.