New tunnels, expressways and more! In five years, India's infra to be no less than US, Europe, claims Nitin Gadkari -

New tunnels, expressways and more! In five years, India’s infra to be no less than US, Europe, claims Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that a new India is in the making with infrastructure which will be no less than that in the United States and Europe in five years. In the last five-year period, a solid foundation has already been laid with more than Rs 17 lakh crore worth of projects, he was quoted saying in a PTI report. According to Gadkari, the development of backward regions, the northeast as well as border areas remains one of the topmost priorities of the Modi government. A network of green expressway corridors is being laid, including the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway worth Rs 1 lakh crore, he said.

The minister said that the 30 km long Dwarka Expressway, which is being built at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore, is an engineering marvel and the project would result in a Singapore-like place on the national capital’s borders. Also, border roads are being augmented and nearly 90% of work has been completed on the Kailash Mansarovar route project via Pithoragarh, Gadkari further said. With this project completion, the arduous trek through treacherous high-altitude terrain can be avoided by Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims and the journey period will be reduced by many days. Currently, journey to Kailash Mansarovar takes about two-three weeks through the state of Sikkim or Nepal routes.

The minister also noted that the work on the Char Dham project is in full swing. The project, at a cost of about Rs 12,000 crore, aims to provide all-weather connectivity to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Besides, as many as 17 such highways have been built in the state of Rajasthan and other areas that can double up as airstrips, the Union Minister said. Moreover, on the Zojilla tunnel, work is underway to offer all-weather connectivity to people in Ladakh and Leh who remain cut off from the rest of India for six months every year, the minister said.

The work to upgrade backward areas should have been initiated earlier as there are areas without roads for 200-300 km. The focus of the government was on world-class infrastructure, said Gadkari, adding that his ministry has achieved the target of building 35 km roads per day in 358 days. He also said that by the end of the fiscal, the road building pace will reach 40 km. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and farmers’ agitation which resulted in a toll revenue loss of Rs 10,000 crore, the toll collection has been Rs 34,000 crore this fiscal as against Rs 24,000 crore last year. He also said that despite the pandemic crisis, construction firms’ turnover could double because of massive highways work, and added that concerted efforts would lead to economic growth.

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