Developers shy away from dream projects

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NOIDA: In a major setback to two ambitious projects of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, not a single company has participated in the financial bid process. The two projects include Greenfield Expressway, a six-lane route proposed to be developed between Agra and Lucknow and the Night Safari project, which was mooted by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The last date to apply for the consultant bid for the Night Safari was November 15. However, due to weak response from developers Greater Noida Authority had to extend the date. “We have extended the date of participating in the bid for consultant to November 22,” said Leenu Sehgal, general manager (planning), Greater Noida Authority.

Most of the companies are blaming law & order and massive corruption for not showing an interest in the projects. In October, Uttar Pradesh industrial and infrastructure development commissioner, Alok Ranjan, had claimed that work on the Night Safari project would start within three months after finalizing the consultant, but the proposal has now hit a major roadblock.

In May 2012, the chief minister had given in-principle approval for the Night Safari on 102 hectares of land near Gautam Buddh Nagar University in Greater Noida. In August, the UP cabinet sanctioned the project. Originally proposed by Mulayam Singh during his chief ministerial tenure in 2005, the project was put on hold following a regime change in 2007 even though it allegedly had all clearances from Supreme Court and Central Zoo Authority.

The 270km six-lane Greenfield Expressway has often been referred to in Akhilesh Yadav’s speeches after UP’s regime change in 2012. However, lukewarm response from developers in the Rs 9,000 crore project has thrown a spanner in the works for the state government which plans to convert areas alongside the route into business hubs.

Defending the situation, Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority CEO, Mukul Singhal, blamed the recession. “It is a huge project and no company has come forward to invest currently due to recession. We will explore new options now,” said Singhal.

Even law & order has become a major issue in Uttar Pradesh for investors. Recently, an Italian vehicle manufacturing company visited Noida and Greater Noida, but seeing the crime graph and corruption they put their investment proposal on hold. “Widespread incidents of lawlessness, multiplicity of authorities, corruption, political brinksmanship, labour unrest and communal riots are major factors for investors to shy away,” said an entrepreneur.


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