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PM Narendra Modi concerned over delay in widening of 2 Varanasi national highways

Work on the first project of 203 km started in 2015 and was scheduled to be completed in 2018. Now Modi has fixed December 2020 as the new deadline for this. Both these highways are the main routes to Varanasi, an official said, and the double-lane roads are choc-a-block with traffic.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2020, 07.36 AM IST
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Narendra Modi
At the review meeting, the PM is said to have instructed that NH 29 project be completed by December 2020 while the NH 56 project should be completed by June 2020.
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled projects worth Rs 1,200 Cr in Varanasi on Sunday but Modi is said to be upset over two key highway widening projects to his constituency being delayed and has now fixed tight deadlines for their completion, ET has learnt from officials.

PM at a recent review meeting observed that the four-laning of the National Highway-29 from Gorakhpur to Varanasi and National Highways-56 from Sultanpur to Varanasi is well behind target and asked both the Union Roads and Transport Ministry and UP government to pull up their socks and complete these projects. The first project of 203-km started in 2015 and was supposed to be completed in 2018 – the new deadline of the project has been fixed at December 2020 by the Prime Minister. Both these highways are the main routes to Varanasi, an official pointed out, and the double-lane roads are choc-a-block with traffic.

At the review meeting, the PM is said to have instructed that the NH-29 project must be completed by December 2020 while the NH-56 project should be completed by June 2020. The Uttar Pradesh government was directed to disburse the balance compensation for land acquisition by the end of this month regarding both the projects. Interestingly, the PM had earlier reviewed the NH-29 widening project in 2016 at a PRAGATI review meeting, directing for quick completion of the road but the project has been significantly delayed.

This project is many ways is a reflection of infrastructure in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency, as international tourists use this road to go to the two major Buddhist attractions in the state – Sarnath and Kushinagar. The road is referred to widely as Purvanchal’s lifeline but remains in in bad shape and needs a six-hour drive to cover the 203-kilometer distance.

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