New Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati plans to revive the controversial eight-lane Taj expressway project to provide better connectivity for the Delhi-Agra tourism circuit.
The project was stalled mid-way by the previous Samajwadi Party government soon after the other mega project – the Taj heritage corridor – ran into rough weather and reached the Supreme Court.
Now, decks have been cleared for the expressway since even a probe by the previous government gave it a clean chit, new UP chief secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told Hindustan Times.
Singh, who bounced back as Mayawati’s top bureaucrat after "languishing" as a secretary-level official since 1986, said the 186 km expressway will connect Noida to Agra for quicker access to the Taj and also help in the overall development of the area.
If the cost of all the projects along the proposed highway is taken together, it will run to Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 crore. The work on the expressway project had remained suspended for four years following allegations of corruption and favourtism.
Mayawati thought of the project when she headed a BSP-BJP coalition in 2003. Later, justice SR Misra committee was set up to probe various charges involving the project.
Among other revival plans high on Mayawati's agenda include an international airport near Aligarh and Varanasi-Delhi expressway. The airport project was conceived during her last tenure as CM.
Singh said the new government is also focusing on reforms to rid the administration of "corruption and lethargy". "Good governance is the key to the development of the state," he said, referring to the recent transfer-posting policy of the state government.
The transfer and postings have now been left to the respective services boards. Only the cases of principle secretaries, additional director generals of police and above, will be handled by the CM.