UNION MINISTER for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Monday approved a multi-crore proposal for constructing a sea- link between Okha and Bet Dwarka island in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, but asked the Gujarat government for an underwater tunnel at its end “to materialise the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
Gadkari made the announcement while addressing a public meeting here after laying the foundation stone of a Rs4,876-crore project for widening Bhavnagar-Veraval National Highway 8E. The NH 8E — to be rechristened as NH 51 — will be widened to four lanes from the existing two lanes and converted into a cement concrete road from the existing strip of bitumen road. The 256 km-long road, according to officials, will be completed within 30 months and boost connectivity to Alang ship-recycling yard in Bhavnagar and Pipavav port in Amreli as well as Somnath temple and Veraval port.
Speaking on the occasion, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and state Roads and Buildings Minister Nitin Patel requested Gadkari to approve the state government’s proposal to construct a sea-link to connect Okha and Bet Dwarka where temple of Lord Krishna is located.
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Gadkari responded positively to the plea. “ I hereby approve the construction of a sea-link connecting Okha and Bet Dwarka at an estimated cost of Rs 400 crore. We shall start work on it very soon. But, the Prime Minister has told me that the end of the bridge should be an undersea tunnel. I request Nitinbhai and the Chief Minister to give me suggestions as to how we can materialise this dream of Modi.” Around 5,000 people live on Bet Dwarka which is 2.2 km off Okha coast and one can reach the island only on a boat.
Gadkari also announced the work on widening Somnath-Porbandar-Dwarka section of National Highway 8E to four-lane will start before August 15 and the project cost will be Rs3,000 crore. The Bhavnagar-Veraval road will be the second cement concrete road in Gujarat after NH-59 connecting Godhra to Dahod.
He also announced to convert five state highways totalling 675 km into national highways. He said over the next two years, the Centre will invest Rs1 lakh crore in Gujarat in the road sector.