UNION MINISTER for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Friday said the Centre will build roads worth Rs 2 lakh crore in Uttar Pradesh in the next two years, and also develop 40 ports for cheaper transport of goods.
Addressing a programme in Lucknow with Home Minister and Lucknow MP Rajnath Singh, Gadkari said that while roads worth Rs 7,000 crore had been completed in the state, work on roads worth Rs 20,000 crore is in progress. Projects worth Rs 25,000 crore will start soon, he added.
Gadkari and Singh laid the foundation stone of the 94-km four-lane outer ring road around Lucknow, which will be built at a cost of Rs 5,214 crore. Gadkari promised that the project would be completed in two years.
“The ring road will stop about 50,000 vehicles from entering in Lucknow, and help in reducing the pollution level and traffic jams,” Singh said. He added that development work should be kept above politics, and hailed the UP government for helping in acquiring land for the outer ring road. “Development should not be weighed on the scale of politics,” he said.
UP Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, who was present at the programme, said the state government was also working to build roads in rural areas. “The road density and presence of national highways in UP is less than the national average, and the state government shares the Centre’s goals in this regard,” he added.
While introducing Gadkari as his “close friend”, Singh put up a string of demands before the minister as he asked him to announce nine more projects for Lucknow, including construction of overbridges and elevated roads. Gadkari, who spoke last, said that while his ministry will build five of these projects, the rest — which are not on the national highways — will be developed by the state government.
“There is no dearth of funds. I have more money to give. You should have asked for more. You should not have hesitated,” Gadkari told Singh, and also asked BJP MPs, Kaushal Kishore (Mohanlalganj) and Priyanka Singh Rawat (Barabanki), to ask for more highways in their areas.
Singh went on to praise Gadkari for his work as the Maharashtra PWD minister and recalled former Prime Minister and Lucknow MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his focus on construction of roads, including Shaheed Path — the ring road around Lucknow.
Gadkari said the Centre is working on developing waterways in UP. Ports will be developed on rivers like Betwa, Yamuna, Ganga, Gomti, Chambal and Ghaghra to reduce the cost of goods transporation, he added. “This will help in bringing industry to the state, which will generate employment,” he said.
Watch what else is making news
With the state going to polls early next year, Gadkari is expected to kick off more road projects. He has already initiated a number of projects in PM Narendra Modi’s constituency of Varanasi, including a ring road to decongest traffic in the city.
Soon after the Lucknow’s function, BSP chief Mayawati said in a statement that the Centre was trying to get “cheap popularity” before elections by laying the foundation stone for “half-prepared projects”. She claimed the NHAI was yet to acquire land for the outer ring road project. “What is the hurry to lay the foundation stone of the ring road… even the project director of NHAI, P Shankar, has said that it will take six months to complete the tendering process and the work will start only after that,” she added.