The Yogi Aditynath government's claims of building the "world's biggest expressway" in Uttar Pradesh may fall flat especially when there are many bigger road links already present in the country and outside.
On January, 29, the UP Chief Minister told his cabinet, on the sidelines of the Kumbh Mela, that he has given a sanction to build the Ganga Expressway, which will be a 600 kilometres-long road connecting at least a dozen districts in the state. He also claimed that it would be the "world's biggest expressway", which will be built with an estimated cost of Rs 36,000 crore.
The road link "Ganga Expressway" will be named after India's holy river Ganges and will connect Meerut to Pragyaraj and cover districts such as Bulandshahr, Amroha, Farukhabad, Kannauj, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Badaun, Shahjahanpur and Pratapgarh.
However, a report on factchecker.in suggests that Adityanath's assertions might be false.
A 700 kilometres-long Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg or the Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway being built by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, which will reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Nagpur by half, is much bigger than the Ganga Expressway. Nearly 24 districts of Maharashtra will be connected by this expressway, according to the state official data, making it the biggest expressway in the country.
The 48,000 kilometres-long Pan-American Highway, which travels through the mainland nations of the Americas, is the world's largest motorable road or expressway, passing through diverse ecology, climates and terrains.
Proposed Ganga Expressway earlier shelved by UP court
The Ganga Expressway project was earlier shelved in 2009 when Allahabad High Court asked the then Mayawati-led state government to seek the approval of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change before starting the construction work.
Various environment and spiritual groups had petitioned the court opposing the road link construction since the alignment of the expressway was along the holy river Ganga. The road link was earlier proposed to connect Greater Noida to Eastern UP, according to the Business Standard.
The Yogi government has also given a nod to two other expressways. The high-speed road project will connect the CM's hometown, Gorakhpur. The other proposed - Purvanchal Expressway - will cover Azamgarh and Ambedkarnagar districts.
India's largest state will now be home to five major high-speed road projects (expressways). In addition to the existing Yamuna expressway and Lucknow-Agra expressway, three more expressways will be built with an estimated cost of Rs 45,000 crore.
The decision by the BJP state government comes at a time when the Lok Sabha elections are a few months away and its traditional rivals in the state, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, have joined hands to face PM Modi.
The proposed expressways will run through the UP districts which are considered to be the strongholds of SP, BSP and Congress.