The Centre has approved Rs 8,528 crore for national highway projects in Maharashtra. The decision was made at a meeting held between Union minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Thursday. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar skipped the meeting as he was in Pune.
Gadkari said, “Issues concerning hurdles in land acquisition coupled with forest clearances at state levels, which need to be expedited, were discussed. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will start the project only after getting all clearances and completion of 90 per cent land acquisition.” Apart from sanctioning Rs 5,801 crore for road projects, the Centre has allocated an additional amount of Rs 2,727 crore, he revealed.
After the meeting, Gadkari told reporters that the ongoing Mumbai-Goa national highway project will complete within a year. The Delhi- Mumbai highway, which will be connected to JNPT, will help ease the traffic along the port. The four-lane Mumbai and Goa will be extended to Karnataka in the long run, he added.
At present, under the NHAI, 6,607km of road is being constructed through 159 projects. Of these, work on 4,875km of road has been completed. Pending work on the 680km of road requires clearances for which the state’s attention has been drawn.
While stating that major road projects are underway in the state, Gadkari said, “Under the Centre’s annual plan, we sanctioned Rs 2,727 crore for work on highways in Maharashtra. Besides, projects worth Rs 5,801 crore are in the pipeline.”
On the Rs 6,000-crore Surat-Bangalore highway passing through Nashik, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Hyderabad and Chennai, the Union minister said that it will help decongest the traffic and reduce pollution levels between Mumbai and Pune.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to develop Palkhi Marg. The Rs 3,750-crore project is being undertaken along the route through which Saint Dyaneshwar and Saint Tukaram Palhki pass during the annual pilgrimage to the temple town of Pandharpur in Maharashtra.
Gadkari said, “The warkaris (devotees) take the annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur. They travel on foot. We have planned the route in such a way that it provides them with basic amenities like lodging and lane laid with grass.”
The Delhi and Mumbai Expressway, worth Rs 1 lakh crore, is the green alignment project which will reduce travel time to just 12 hours and distance by 280km.
Thackeray assured Gadkari that the government will fast track the land acquisition and clearance processes.
PWD minister Ashok Chavan, revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat and urban development minister Eknath Shinde were present at the meeting.
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