In area, Uttar Pradesh is double the size of England and in population, only five countries in the world can beat Uttar Pradesh’s population. The State is also a historically revered land for Hindu deities Shiva, Krishna and Ram. Many of the globally known Buddhist shrines are in Uttar Pradesh. But lack of proper upkeep of these cultural hubs and poor infrastructure and connectivity to these places, kept the footfall low in these places before 2017. Being a Parliamentarian from Uttar Pradesh from two decades, Yogi Adityanath had this clear cognizance that only world class infrastructure and connectively can make Uttar Pradesh prosperous. So, in 2017, when he took the oath of office, Yogi took the challenge head on. Within the first few weeks, along with his team he sat on the drawing board, like a city planner and charted out the journey of a new Uttar Pradesh. What we have observed by 2021 is not less than a miracle. Yogi focused on easing of doing business for entrepreneurs and ease of living for people.
We should start with giving credit wherever its due. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) built about 165 Km Greater Noida-Agra Expressway. Samajwadi Party (SP) built around 302 Kms of Agra-Lucknow expressways. So, in last 15 years of BSP+SP rule, people of Uttar Pradesh got 467 Kms of expressways, limited to western Uttar Pradesh. In contrast, Yogi Adityanath has taken the expressway network in the State to a completely different level. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 341 Kms of Purvanchal Expressway in November of 2021, connecting nice districts of hitherto neglected eastern Uttar Pradesh. Main carriageway of 300Km Bundelkhand Expressway connecting seven districts of the Bundelkhand region will be operational by January 2022. By these two massive greenfield projects, Yogi government has added a whopping 641 Kms to the expressways’ road infrastructure in the state of Uttar Pradesh. But this is not all – With 600 Kms Ganga Expressway and 91 Kms Gorakhpur Link Expressway, Uttar Pradesh will enter a different league of high-quality road networks across the country. 98% land for Ganga expressway is already acquired and bidding process is started. Ganga Expressway will connect the western region of UP to the eastern region of UP and will run through twelve districts of Uttar Pradesh. Around these world class expressways, Yogi Government planned nodes of defense corridor and invited defense equipment manufacturers to UP. In 2020, even PM Narendra Modi praised Yogi Adityanath that Uttar Pradesh is becoming an ‘Express State’ under Yogi Adityanath’s leadership.
Winds of positive change have also swept the aviation sector in Uttar Pradesh under Yogi’s tenure. In 2017, when Yogi started his Chief Ministerial tenure, Uttar Pradesh had flights to only 25 national and international destinations and, in 2021, in the 5th year of Yogis Government, Uttar Pradesh has almost tripled this number and now the State has flights to 71 destinations – 59 national and 12 international destinations. In 2017, Uttar Pradesh had four functioning airports – Lucknow, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Agra, out of which only Lucknow and Varanasi were handling international flights to limited routes. In 2021, Uttar Pradesh has eight functioning airports with many more routes. The new additions are Kanpur, Bareilly, Prayagraj and Hindon airports.
Along with activating new airports, the traffic to and from existing airports has increased in the last four years. For example, from Varanasi, flights were available for only oneinternational and seven national destinations till 2017, which have gone up to five international and 15 national destinations.In 2017, only one flight was available from Gorakhpur (to Delhi). Today, the Gorakhpur airport offers flights to eight destinations. Similarly, flights from Agra have increased from one to five destinations since 2017. Along with these, upgradation and development work at eight more domestic airports in Agra, Saharanpur, Aligarh, Azamgarh, Moradabad, Shravasti, Chitrakoot and Sonbhadra is ON.
Uttar Pradesh will soon become the only state in the country to have five international airports. Today, UP has international airports in Lucknow and Varanasi. Yogi Government is working on three new international airports at Kushinagar, Jewar and Ayodhya. The international airport at Kushinagar is almost complete and is ready for operations. This will drastically increase the tourism from the Buddhist countries, as Kushinagaris one of the very important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists, where they believe Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana after his death. The work for Jewar Green Field International Airport in Gautam Budh Nagar and the international airport in Ayodhya has already started.
Yogi knew that along with air connectivity and road connectivity, supply of uninterrupted electricity is one of the important factors for the ease of doing business for industry for ease of living of people. With that in mind, in the very first year, Yogi launched ‘Power for All’ drive and massively upgraded the power infrastructure in the state. Under Yogi’s ‘Paryapt Bijli’ mission, for the first time in the history of Uttar Pardesh, the State targeted 24 hours electricity at District Headquarters, 20 Hours at Tehsils and 18 hours at villages. When reviewed in 2021, Yogi’s team almost touched this steep target. In the period of 2017-2021, average duration of daily power supply in rural areas was 17.43 hours, average duration of daily power supply in tehsil areas was 20.41 hours, average duration of daily power supply in district headquarters was 23.14 hours. If we compare this to average daily power supply during Akhilesh Yadav’s Government during 2012-2017, it was a drastic change. In Yogi’s tenure, average daily increase in power supply in District headquarters is 3 hours & 51 mins, in Tehsils, it is 1 hr & 14 mins and, in Rural area, it is 5 hrs 18 mins, respectively. Five hours of extra electricity upgraded the life standards of rural Uttar Pradesh drastically. In urban areas, around 4 hours of extra electricity than earlier significantly reduced the personal and industrial power-back-up bills.
Under the Yogi rule, in last 4.5 years, Uttar Pradesh has created a long-term tied-up capacity of around 27,000 MW with various power plants in and outside the state. As per plans, the current capacity will further increase to around 34,500 MW soon. In 2016-17 under Akhilesh, UP was transmitting 16,110 MW of power and, in contrast under Yogi, the peak demand of 24,926 MW was met on 30th June 2021. It was a 54 per cent jump in demand and transmission capacity. This is unprecedented. In the last four years, 673 substations have been added to the distribution system and the capacity of 1,347 substations have been augmented. In 2016-17, UP only had 3,817 substations. But by 2020-21, Yogi Government ensured 673 more substations, taking the total number of sub-stations in the state to 4,490. In last four years, apart from the new 673 substations, 1,347 substations have been augmented. Yogi Government now works on corporate like service level agreements (SLA) to rectify any malfunctioning transformer within 24 hours in urban areas and 48 hours in rural areas.
In last four years, Yogi Adityanath has taken Uttar Pradesh’s Infra Structure to completely new orbit and coupled with tighten law and order, it has immensity helped to bring the industry back to Uttar Pradesh. And by 2021, this started reflecting in national indices.Today Uttar Pradesh has become 2nd in Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) ranking leaving many industrialized states behind. Under Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh has become the second largest state of India in Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), surging ahead of even industrialised states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) report released in March 2021, coinciding with Yogi’s fourth year in office, the unemployment rate of Uttar Pradesh dipped to 4.1 per cent in 2021 compared to 17.5 per cent before 2017. By 2021, Uttar Pradesh has doubled the per capita income of its citizens – from Rs 43,000 per year in 2015-16, when the SP was in power, to Rs 95,000 year in 2021.
Padma Bhushan awardee, Dr David Frawley, while writing the foreword for my previous book on Yogi Adityanath, The Monk Who Became Chief Minister, categorically mentioned that Yogi Adityanath represents India’s new aspirational generation that aims to develop the country without abandoning India’s profound civilisational and cultural ethos. Dr Frawley also added that Yogi Adityanath’s training in Indian heritage is unparalleled among the political figures of today. And what people of Uttar Pradesh have experienced in last 4.5 years is no less than the cultural renaissance of Uttar Pradesh under a true yogi—From a grand Ardh-Kumbh at Prayag, to Deepotsava at Ayodhya to the execution of PM Modi’s ambitious Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project to Grand Dev Deepavali in Kashi to developing a Buddha circuit, the list is endless. UP has been the land of lord Rama, Krishna, Shiva and Buddha. For far too long, these places of religious interest were neglected by the SP and the BSP Governments out of vote bank considerations. Under Yogi Adityanath, all the places of religious significance finally got their due importance. Yogi government did multiple infrastructure related upgradations and organised large scale religious and cultural events in Mathura, Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Prayagraj, Vindhyachal, Naimisharanya, Chitrakoot, Kushinagar and Kashi.
These high speed expressways, new air routes, massive infrastructure upliftment of cultural centres of Uttar Pradesh are connecting people and culture of Uttar Pradesh. Now UP has a Chief Minister who sings Hanuman Chalisa and Vilkas Chalisa with the same vigour.