खबर लहरिया Development The rocky road of development

The rocky road of development

After Prime Minister Modi’s much-anticipated visit to Chitrakoot over the weekend, looking back at how Chief Minister Adityanath prepared a week ago.

On February 17, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited Chitrakoot in preparation of PM Modi’s visit on February 29. “This Bundelkhand Expressway will become the backbone of Bundelkhand’s development. This region which has been continuously neglected and plagued with migration since independence, will finally get focused development.”


The Bundelkhand Expressway is going to be a 296-km four-lane expressway that starts from Chitrakoot and connects all the way to Agra Lucknow Expressway near Etawah.  CM Yogi Adityanath announced the project first in 2017 and as of February 2020, 95% of the land needed to build the highway, has been acquired. The government has allocated a budget of approx. 15,000 crores for the expressway. And 2,200 cr has been disbursed from that to farmers for acquiring land. However, there is a lot of resentment and dissatisfaction regarding the disbursal of compensation, as many say they have not received a fair deal. During CM Adityanath’s visit many people affected by the Expressway had gathered in hopes that Yogi ji will address the issue. Instead, the visit remained purely focused on preparing for the Prime Minister’s imminent arrival. “The land that has been acquired for the expressway was the only source of income for a lot of people. While they have got compensation for it, some are happy but some are not satisfied. People gathered here with lots of hope but he didn’t even address them. That was quite disheartening.”, Kamlesh Yadav from Chitrakoot is one such attendee who came with a lot of expectation. “He came in a car, went straight inside, attended the event and left. He didn’t spare a minute for anything else.”


Bundelkhand as a region is a prime candidate for development. Its low literacy levels coupled with abysmal employment opportunities has kept it in a downward spiral of poverty. The government says the expressway project will help generate 50,000 direct and indirect jobs. ”I don’t think the expressway will benefit the people who live here. It will help the rich, not the poor. It makes travel easy for the big businessmen.”, says Mohit Yadav from Mainpuri village of Chitrakoot district. “As a region we have highly productive mines, and the whole country benefits from them, but we don’t get anything in return. We don’t have a good college or a decent hospital. It takes an ambulance an hour to reach a patient.” Each of the 20,000 farmers whose land has been acquired have been paid an average of 10.5 lakhs. “When as expressway was being created in Greater Noida, people there specified the amount they wanted for their land. Here, the government had everyone sign their names and silently sold the land without asking. No one asked the farmers whether they wanted to sell their land and for how much.”, Mohit explains. 


The event for Yogi Adityanath, as per some, was held on public land that has as yet not been acquired by the government. The preparation for the PM’s visit, that he came to inspect includes building a large tent with the help of German technology. Along with that in Gonda village, there will be 6 blocks with seating for separate sets of people. A stage, helipad, special parking and a safe house are the other arrangements being done for the Expressway inauguration by PM on February 29. Bundelkhand Expressway is among the flagship projects of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is often referred to by the CM at various platforms as an example of his government’s pro-development agenda. “This is the first time the PM will come to Chitrakoot. I have come specially to inspect that all preparations are done properly for his stay and for the inauguration.” CM Adityanath informed those attending his gathering. 


The extravagant preparations leave out the concerns of the public, who are still unsure about employment opportunities. “People here are either working in the mining industry or then they are migrating to cities to look for a job. We hope that Yogi Ji will bring jobs to the people and open schools. There is a lot of land around the expressway, maybe they can start a factory which will give people jobs.”, as a citizen Rajkumar from Gonda village hopes that his humble suggestion will be heard by those in power and secure a stable future for him and his family.


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