The Uttar Pradesh government has proposed to increase security on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, the longest six-lane highway in the country.As part of the plan, the government has decided to set up 24 police chowkis or outposts along the 302-km stretch. The focus on highway security comes in the backdrop of an alleged gangrape-murder on the Jewar-Bulandshar highway near the Yamuna Expressway recently.Nine districts coveredThe Lucknow-Agra highway cuts through the heart of Uttar Pradesh, touching nine districts. One outpost each will come up in Lucknow and Auraiya, two in Mainpuri, three each in Unnao, Kanpur, Etawah and Firozabad, while Kannauj and Agra will be provided with four each.The Project Implementation Units (PIUs) of the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority will work in coordination with district teams of the police force to identify land for the outposts, a government spokesperson said.The decision was taken after a meeting of police officers and UPEIDA officials chaired by Director-General of Police Sulkhan Singh.Avanish Awasthi, CEO of UPEIDA, the authority set up to develop highways in the State, said the body had also “accepted” the police department’s “request” for deploying 20 patrolling vehicles on the Expressway.Work not over yetThe Expressway was inaugurated last year by then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav but parts of it are still under the works. The highway will not only reduce the distance from Lucknow to Agra to three-and-a-half hours, but also bring the U.P. capital closer to New Delhi, cutting the time travelled between the two major cities from 8-9 hours to 5-6 hours. It will join the Yamuna Expressway at Agra to connect Lucknow to Delhi.
Union Minister of Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal on Thursday termed the current economic slowdown as just a passing phase and said that efforts being taken by the government only showed that it cared.Reacting to former prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s views on the economic slow down the country is facing, the Union Minister said that he was surprised to know that Dr. Singh was saying that the BJP government was failing in handling the economy. “The country gave Dr. Singh, an eminent economist, the opportunity to run the country for 10 years. But they [UPA government] damaged the entire economic system. It was during their tenure that reckless bank loans messed up the banking sector, prices of commodities soared up, Mumbai faced a major terrorist attack and the government could not face the public,” he said addressing chartered accountants, industrialists and traders at an Assembly election-related event in Bhayandar. “Before the Modi government came to power people had lost hope and so did not demand anything from the government. But in last five years public has been demanding better facilities because they have immense hope in this government. Even a beggar will beg only in front of someone whom he knows will give him something,” Mr. Goyal said. The last five years have seen 75-78% rise in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and it will continue to grow with the efforts the Prime Minister is taking, Mr. Goyal added. “I hope you all remember the double digits inflation we faced during the United Progessive Alliance government. Fiscal deficit was as high as 6-6.5% and current account deficit was 4.5%. The country was handed to us with a damaged economy and we have brought about development across sectors,” he said. Talking of the steps by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to revive the economy, Mr. Goyal said, “ours is a responsible government. The efforts being taken show that the government cares about the economy.”