Calling himself “a go-getter” who believes in “bulldozing” obstacles, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said his target is to award work worth Rs 31 lakh crore by the time the government completes 5 years. These include contracts worth Rs 15 lakh crore to transform India’s National Highways network and another Rs 16 lakh crore in the shipping area to bring water transport, on the back-burner so far, right in the front.
“I am a go getter… Obstacles keep on coming but I believe in bulldozing road blocks… It is my target to award work worth Rs 31 lakh crore in both highways and shipping sectors when we complete five years,” the road transport, highways and shipping minister told PTI in an interview.
Listing details of work by his ministries on completion of three-years, Gadkari said contracts worth Rs 6 lakh crore has already been awarded in both the sectors out of Rs 31 lakh crore. Work of this magnitude will create 2.5 crore jobs directly and another 2.5 crore indirectly besides contributing 3 per cent to GDP growth, he said.
“My aim is to build 1 lakh km of new National Highways. We have brought the road building pace to 23 km a day at present from a mere 2 km a day when our government took over,” Gadkari said, exuding confidence to take it to 40 km a day by the end of next March.
He said it is his endeavour to take the National Highways length to 2 lakh km from about 1 lakh km so that 80 per cent the country’s traffic comes on NHs. “We have already identified NHs of 1.7 lakh km. I have a target of completing 1 lakh km of roads in my regime this is my target,” he said.
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Claiming to build a world record of sorts, Gadkari said that in 2016-17, the government awarded contracts for building 16,800 km of highways.
“People in London, where I had been recently to launch NHAI’s Masala bond, said this is Guinness world record that in a country 16,800 km of awards for highways have been given in a year.” He said on a cumulative basis the highways ministry has awarded contracts worth for 32,000 km in the last three years.
“Next year our target is 25,000 km. Next to next year we will award 30-35,000 km of work. We want to accomplish 1 lakh km of work in five years,” he said.
He elaborated that his ministry has taken a decision to widen roads to four-lane highways where there is a traffic of 10,000 PCUs (Passenger Car Units) and build six-lane highways where there is 20,000 PCUs. He said emphasis was on building cement concrete roads which are durable.
Besides, he said the government is building 13 expressways along the country that include Eastern Peripheral Expressway to ease the traffic of the national capital at least by 50 per cent.
The expressway is likely to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister on August 15 this year, he said.
Claiming to his credit building the first express highway in the country, Mumbai-Pune express highway in Maharashtra, Gadkari said: “We are also building Western Peripheral Expressway and both will ease 50 per cent traffic from Delhi and minimise pollution as people going or coming from Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan need not cross through Delhi.
Work on Dwarka express highway will start in 3-4 months and a green highway between Delhi-Meerut will be completed till December, he said.
Vadodara-Mumbai expressway will be built at a cost of Rs 44,000 crore and work on the project will be started in three months, he said adding Vijaywada-Amrawati expressway will be access-controlled.
The Minister said alignment for Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi- Katra expressways have been finalised besides work is in pipeline for Hyderabad-Chennai and Chennai-Bangalore projects.