New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated to the nation its first smart and green highway, the Eastern Peripheral Expressway at Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh. The 135-kilometer six-lane access-controlled expressway is eco-friendly and has world-class safety features. It envisages signal-free connectivity between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Palwal. The foundation stone of the project was laid by Modi in November 2015. The expressway has been completed in a record time of about 500 days against the scheduled target of 910 days.

The expressway, built at a cost of 11,000 crore rupees, is India's first highway to be lit by solar power besides provisions of rainwater harvesting. The alignment of the expressway starts near Kundli and passes through Sonepat, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad, and Palwal. It will reduce traffic time between Kundli and Palwal in Haryana from over four hours to just 72 minutes. Toll plazas are equipped with electronic toll collection system for faster processing and uninterrupted travel experience. The toll will be collected only for the distance traveled and not for the entire length. The expressway will de-congest the national capital and also help in bringing down pollution level. At least 50 thousand vehicles will be diverted per day going to Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Replicas of 36 monuments have been erected along the highway depicting Indian culture and heritage.

Later addressing a public rally in Baghpat, Modi said, "The modern infrastructure of the country has a very important role in raising the lifestyle of 125 crore people of the nation. He said, everyone, will enjoy the fruit of development because the infrastructure does not distinguish between caste, creed and religion, and rich and poor." The Prime Minister said a new India is being erected on the basis of the expectations and aspirations of the youth of the country. He said, through 'Make in India' campaign, manufacturing has received a boost and as a result, there are 120 mobile phone manufacturing factories in India now as compared to only 2, four years back. 

The Prime Minister said, the UPA government had connected 59 panchayats with optical fiber network and NDA has provided connectivity to more than one lakh. He also said, his government has made Special courts for Dalits who have been facing atrocities across the country. Speaking on the occasion, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said, the Eastern Peripheral Expressway will be completed by March next year. Mr Gadkari said, farmers have been paid better than the market value of their plots while acquiring land for this highway. He added government paid 6,000 crore rupees for land acquisition to farmers. He also said that world's most advanced features are being installed in the Eastern Peripheral Expressway.

Earlier this morning, PM Modi inaugurated the first phase of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway stretching from Nizamuddin Bridge in Delhi to the Uttar Pradesh Border. He traveled in an open jeep on the expressway for around six kilometers, as part of his road show for the nine-kilometer stretch. The six-lane expressway will provide a major relief to commuters as on its completion, the time to travel from Delhi to Meerut will be reduced to 45 minutes from the present about four to five hours.