Prayagraj: The Uttar Pradesh cabinet met at Prayagraj, the venue of the Kumbh, on Tuesday and cleared the decks to construct what is being touted as the world’s longest highway — the Ganga Expressway between Meerut and Prayagraj.
At the meeting, held outside the state capital for only the second time in history, and chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, it was decided that the 600-km Expressway will be built at a cost of Rs 36,000 crore on a stretch of 6,556 hectares of land.
The proposed Ganga Expressway will weave through Meerut-Amroha-Bulandshahr-Budaun-Shahjahanpur-Kannauj-Unnao-Rae Bareli-Pratapgarh and end at Prayagraj, earlier known as Allahabad.
The cabinet also decided to make tax free the Bollywood film “Uri”, based on the Indian Army’s surgical strike on terror bases in Pakistan.
Talking to reporters, the Chief Minister welcomed the move by the union government to move the Supreme Court seeking permission for revoking the status quo stay on the excess vacant land acquired around Ayodhya’s disputed site, accompanied by a request to the court that this land be handed over to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas.
“We welcome this move by the Centre. We have all along been saying that we should get permission to use the undisputed land,” the saffron-robed Chief Minister said.
Before the cabinet meeting held at the sprawling tented complex on the banks of the holy trinity of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers, Adityanath prayed at an iconic temple of Lord Hanuman where he was greeted by Narendra Giri, the priest.
He took part in an ‘aarti’ and performed rituals. He and his Ministers then went to the Aksyavat tree and ‘Saraswati Koop’ inside the fort here.
The first meeting of the Uttar Pradesh cabinet away from Lucknow was held in 1962 in Nainital when Govind Vallabh Pant was the Chief Minister.
Heavy security was enforced at the Kumbh for the high-profile visit and a vast area near the Sangam was declared out of bounds for pilgrims.
A total of 28 Ministers took part in the cabinet meeting at the Integrated Control and Common Centre (ICCC), an official said.
All of them are later set to take a holy dip in the Sangam as part of Kumbh festivities.