Will com­plete 300 road projects by March 2019, says Nitin Gad­kari

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

NEW DELHI: Union road min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari on Thursday said that his min­istry is tar­get­ing to com­plete some 300 high­ways projects by March 2019, just ahead of the gen­eral elec­tions.

The gov­ern­ment has de­cided to re­duce time frame by three months of 300 projects sched­uled for com­ple­tion in June 2019, and now those are likely to be com­pleted by March, Gad­kari said.

But the min­is­ter in­sisted that the ad­vanc­ing of dead­line to fin­ish the projects has noth­ing to do with poll dates, but with an aim to de­liver world class in­fra­struc­ture projects with “no po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est” what­so­ever. “…. We do not build roads mo­ti­vated by po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est. What­ever is to hap­pen will hap­pen in the elec­tions but this coun­try should de­velop whether there is a gov­ern­ment of BJP or Congress or any other party. Once a road is built it will ben­e­fit all, ir­re­spec­tive of who they voted for,” Gad­kari said at a press con­fer­ence.

To fast track some of the 300 projects that were orig­i­nally sched­uled to be com­pleted by June 2019, the high­ways min­istry has also re­duced their com­ple­tion time­frame has been re­duced by three months. HT had on May 19 re­ported how the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance gov­ern­ment plans to show­case high­way development as one of its big­gest achieve­ments in the in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elec­tions with close to 200 road projects worth about Rs 1.5 lakh crore likely to be com­pleted by mid-2019.

Giv­ing a re­port card of the sta­tus of over 700 on­go­ing projects in 20 states, fol­low­ing a two-day re­view meet­ing in Goa that ended on Tuesday, Gad­kari said that out of the 300 projects that the min­istry is tar­get­ing to com­plete by March 2019, about 100 projects will be com­pleted by De­cem­ber 2018.

Ut­tar Pradesh, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Gu­jarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are among the states the ghat have per­formed well in road con­struc­tion with UP alone build­ing projects worth Rs two lakh crore.

Gad­kari said that he has told the chief sec­re­taries of all states to hold monthly re­view meet­ings to ex­pe­dite projects that are stuck.

To sort out any is­sues such as de­lays caused by land ac­qui­si­tion, chief gen­eral man­agers have been di­rected to visit the sites ev­ery ten days to see the progress on the ground, the min­is­ter added.

The min­is­ter said that he was hope­ful that per day road con­struc­tion tar­get in 2018-19 will be more than 40km/day. The min­istry has also re­vised the con­struc­tion tar­get of Na­tional High­ways Au­thor­ity of In­dia from 5058 km to 6000 km.

Com­ing down on the con­sul­tants al­legedly pre­par­ing faulty de­tailed pro­ject re­ports (DPRS), Gad­kari said it was one of the rea­sons caus­ing the de­lays.

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