Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday announced the first greenfield national highway project between Surat in Gujarat and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. Work on the 421-km highway project, estimated to cost Rs 12,000 crore, will commence in April 2021.
Addressing a virtual ‘Jansamvad’ rally for BJP in western Maharashtra, Gadkari said: “I would like to announce a new national highway project between Surat and Ahmednagar… The plans are ready and the process of land acquisition is being worked out.”
The stretch, when completed, is likely to see 50,000 vehicles daily. “It would go a long way to decongestant vehicular traffic between Surat and Mumbai, thereby also impacting traffic between Mumbai and Pune,” the minister said.
The national highway will pass through Nashik and Solapur districts in Maharashtra.
While stating that Maharashtra has benefitted the most in the last six years under his tenure, Gadkari said, “Road projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore have been undertaken in Maharashtra. “
Appealing to mills in western Maharashtra – also known as the sugar belt – to diversify their business from sugar production to ethanol, Gadkari said: “At present, the ethanol sector is worth Rs 20,000 crore. We intend to increase it to Rs 1 lakh crore.”
“Surplus sugar production is counter productive to both sugar mills and sugarcane farmers. While international markets sell sugar at Rs 24 per kg, we sell at Rs 34 per kg. Though the Centre gives subsidy, it has limitations. However, ethanol has greater market potential and sugar mills should explore it… it is being considered as the future aviation fuel.”
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