Official Twitter handle of the Prime Minister of India (@PMOIndia) on 15th March 2017 tweeted “CCEA chaired by Modi has given approval for development of the six laning of Handia-Varanasi section of NH-2 in UP”

According to a report by Financial Express, Narendra Modi on Wednesday ( 15th March 2017) approved a 2,147 crore project for the widening of Handia-Varanasi highway.

Important facts about Handia-Varanasi Highway project according to Financial Express :

  • The Six laning of Highway eastern U.P will boost PM Modi’s image.
  • After completion, the project will reduce travel time between two important religious and spiritual places. And help boost religious tourism.

According to Ministry of Road transport and Highways, The development of six lane of Handia-Varanasi will increase employment potential. It estimates that a total number of 4,076 man days are required for construction of one kilometre of highways. As such, employment potential of 3,00,000 (approx.) man days will be generated locally during the construction period of the project.

But according to Press Information Bureau (PIB), Cabinet committee on Economic Affairs ( CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Modi had already approved six lane Handia-Varanasi project 2 years back in 2015. Wonder what was the need for Prime Minister Modi to waste his precious time to approve it again in 2017 after U.P election results when he had already approved the same project in 2015.

six laning of Handia Varanasi section of national highway-2 approved in 2015

According to the report by PIB dated 19th Feb 2015, the cost was estimated to be Rs. 2378.59 crore includes the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The main objective of the project is to expedite the improvement of infrastructure in the state of Uttar Pradesh and also in reducing the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying between Handia – Varanasi.

Oh Wait! Was this project approved even before 2015?

In 2012, under the purview of Government of India Ministry of Finance Department of Economic Affairs, the 53rd meeting of the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC), chaired by Secretary, Economic Affairs, was held on July 16, 2012. There was a proposal from Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) for grant of final approval: Six laning of Allahabad-Varanasi Section from Km 630.000 to 785.859 of NH-2 Km (length of 72.398 kms) as six laned stretch in the State of Uttar Pradesh under NHDP Phase-V on BOT (Toll) basis. The PPPAC granted final approval to the project for six laning of Handia- Varanasi of Rs. 909.57 crore. The main object of the project in 2012 was to expedite the improvement of infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh and also to reduce the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying between Handia and Varanasi.
Handia Varanasi approved in 2012

So, in the span of 5 years, UPA Govt has announced the six laning of Handia Varanasi once, and BJP Govt has announced it twice already.