not even close to being able to meet demand.
During the busiest periods, the three-hour
journey between Allahabad and Varanasi can
take twice or even three times as long, crippling
timely access to basic necessities and amenities
for people living in the region.
“The closest hospital with adequate medical
facilities is in Varanasi and the road is sometimes
so jammed that traffic is diverted to villages,” says
Shyam Sunder Singh, a farmer who has been living
and working in the region for 30 years.
The heavy traffic adversely impacts local
business and agrarian communities living in
the 60 odd villages and districts in and around
the highway. For instance, Bhadhoi district,
renowned for its versatile carpet industry
specialising in ancient Persian-style weaving, is
completely dependent on this road for trade. The
same applies to for several small and mediumscale
farmers growing wheat, rice, seasonal
vegetables and sugarcane.
THE EXPANSION OF the Varanasi-Handia
highway is a complex project that requires the
construction of 15 elevated roads, in addition
to widening the existing road. One of the
biggest challenges is to manage daily traffic, as
construction for the expansion will block at least
four-five metres in the centre of the existing road.
“We need to complete the project efficiently
and smoothly, while delivering it in the fastest
time. This requires precise planning and execution
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