‘This project was a litmus test. Everyone was waiting to see if the Yamuna Expressway would see the light of day’
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In this Walk the Talk with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24x7, Manoj Gaur, Executive Chairman and CEO of Jaypee Group, speaks about the newly opened Yamuna Expressway and the challenges along the way
I am at the Yamuna Expressway, the newest addition to not just north India's infrastructure, but, I would say, one of India's big showpiece infrastructure projects. My guest today is a remarkable entrepreneur—unusual, sometimes controversial—Manoj Gaur.
We are proud that as an organisation we could make a project of which India can be proud. And ultimately, it has seen the light of day. It has taken some time, but now it is a reality.
This is right in front of your famous F-1 circuit as well. Give me an idea of how this started. Because, you have been through many ups and downs on this one.
Well, it was less than 10 months ago that India saw a glorious Formula-1 course and we were a part of this programme. If you recollect, more than one lakh people came to see Formula-1 and they travelled on this expressway. This was a project that the Government of UP dreamt of way back in 2000. Our company was headed by Shri Jaiprakash Gaurji. He was a visionary and he saw this opportunity to connect two big towns—Noida is the largest revenue generator for the Government of UP and Agra the tourist spot of the country. So he bid for it. As we all know, there were many bends and twists in the story and it took time. Construction wise, I think, true to Jaypee Group's track record, we could do it in four years. But it was land acquisition and other matters that took time, but we can say that never in the history of India has a project of this nature, where we have a 165-km expressway, taken so little time. We had a timeline to complete by 2013, but we completed it in sometime early 2012.