UP govt orders land acquisition for Taj Expressway

More than four months after an inquiry committee gave the go-ahead for the 165-km Taj Expressway from Noida to Agra, the Uttar Pradesh Government has issued orders for the acquisition of over 2500 acres of land required for the construction of the six-lane expressway. Once complete, it will bring down travelling time to 100 minutes from point to point.

According to the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA), the expressway will cut through agricultural land in 190 villages of Gautambudh Nagar, Aligarh, Mathura and Agra districts. Officials, however, said spiralling property prices in these areas with private developers moving in would make the acquisition process difficult. The Sunday Express visited Mursadpur village in Greater Noida that stands first in line of the expressway and villagers were already anticipating high prices. The district administration had been entrusted with the job of acquisition while Jaiprakash Associates, which will construct the expressway, will recover costs through toll tax.

"Three years ago, when work on the expressway first began, the government promised Rs 3.2 lakh per bigha. Now, private developers have bought land at almost Rs 20 lakh per bigha in our village," said 85-year-old Jaggu Singh Pradhan, who owns 12.5 bighas of farm land in Mursadpur. "We have been hearing that our land will be acquired for four years now. We want a good price," he added.

The Taj Expressway, that will branch off from the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, is being constructed largely through virgin area along the Yamuna, comprising mostly rural areas. That the Expressway will take off much pressure from the congested NH-2 which runs through cities like Faridabad, Ballabhgarh and Palwal, translating to a five-hour ride to Agra. The Expressway will instead touch en-route the proposed Gautam Buddha University, the Taj SEZ and International Hub airport. Separate roads leading to Mathura and Vrindavan will branch off from it. There will be service lanes on both side besides ribbon development across a 2,500-hectare area at five to seven locations with commercial, amusement, industrial, institutional and residential elements.

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