Union minister Nitin Gadkari today said the Congress’ “family of politics” for years has benefited none barring a few leaders, but the present dispensation means business and is set to root out corruption. The transport minister was here to lay the foundation for infrastructure projects worth Rs 5,500 crore, including Rs 2,500 crore-worth road projects. “In this country after independence, for a long time ‘politics of family’ was dominant. Rule of one party and one family continued. Slogans of poverty alleviation were raised, but actually poverty was never alleviated for the needy. Poverty was alleviated only for a few leaders and their followers,” he said.
Gadkari, who was given the additional charge of Ganga Rejuvenation in the recent cabinet reshuffle, said, “Now, in this country, there is no place for corruption (under the new dispensation). The government at the Centre is committed to eradicate corruption”.
Citing the example of his own ministry, the BJP leader said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has awarded contracts of over Rs 6,50,000 crore, but none of the contractors had to visit his office for any matter.
“I told the prime minister that I have scarcity of time, so kindly do not assign me any new work, but if there is any such department where work is not being done, you can give me that department for rejuvenation. After which, he gave me the responsibility of inter-connecting rivers, an ambitious project which has been lingering on for over 40 years now,” he stated.
Gadkari said every year the country faced floods and the inter-linking of rivers was the only solution for this problem.
Elaborating further, he said in the initial stages there were 30 big projects of connecting rivers, and in three months, five such projects would be launched by the prime minister.
The first of such project is to connect river Bramhaputra with Kaveri in the south through West Bengal, Odisha and Chhatisgarh. In this project, the excess flood water of Brahmaputra will be offloaded to the central and southern states of the country, which will save most of the north east from floods.
Lauding the Raghubar Das-led Jharkhand government for his corruption-free rule of nearly three years, Gadkari offered projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore at the time of completion of five years of his government, if the government was ready to acquire land for the projects.
The Union minister also stressed on the development of irrigation projects in Jharkhand and said unless 50 per cent of the agriculture land got irrigation facilities, the agricultural income of the farmers could not be doubled.
He said in Maharashtra, the irrigation coverage of agricultural land is only 22 per cent, while it is only 20 per cent in Jharkhand.
On his recent message to automakers urging them to shift to alternative fuel, Gadkari said, “I have spoken to Niti Ayog member V K Saraswat and told him to focus on the development of methanol from coal which will reduce the LPG prices by about Rs 50 and provide the fuel for steamers in the Ganga”.
He said that at present the country had the technology for running cars, motorcycles, planes, ships, buses and trucks by indigenously produced ethanol and methanol. “I am a minister who means business. Believe me or not, by December this year, you will find motorcycles, cars and buses running on the roads via bio-ethanol and methanol,” he said.
The transport minister said during the previous government, the country had scarcity of electricity and coal, but now both these were surplus in the country. “We are doing a lot of projects under the department of NHAI. I will very soon initiate the work on Deoghar and Basukinath Road and if you want four-lane road, you will have to demolish houses. But if you want only a three-lane road, the work will be initiated immediately,” he said.
Gadkari announced spot approval of several projects on the request of Chief Minister Raghubar Das. “I approve the Kutchery to Bijupara, Piska More to Palama and Bijupara to Kudu projects and also agreed to pay Rs 200 crore for land acquisition for some of the projects as per the demand of the government,” he said.
The minister also announced to construct Kudu to Garhwa up to the border of Jharkhand 200 km four-lane road, Deoghar-Basukinath road project and Deoghar bypass. He said the work on this project will start in 30 days. He also announced to initiate the three-lane elevated road project at Ratu road project very soon. Gadkari reiterated to complete the Ranchi-Tata highway work by the end of December this year.
Earlier, Das welcomed the Union minister and said that his government has worked transparently and because of it in the first 1,000 days of rule, there was no corruption charges on the government.
The state has achieved a growth rate of 8.6 per cent, which is second highest after Gujarat, the chief minister said.
Das said his government was working on the basis of ten-point programme to fulfil its commitment for 2019, which includes, education, health, cleanliness, housing, irrigation, electrification, transportation, infrastructure and employment generation.
He said that in the first 1,000 days of his government, employment to one lakh people has been generated, of which 90 per cent of the employment was given to locals.