SONIPAT: Union Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today stressed upon increasing the number of express highways in the country and said the strength of national highways will be raised to 1.5 lakh km by next month.

Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari

He said that his ministry was aiming at raising the daily road building to 30 km by March end.

“We witness 5 lakh accidents on roads every year in which 1.50 lakh people die. We have analyzed the reasons behind these accidents. We found the number of vehicles is on the rise whereas there is less infrastructure to complement the surge in vehicle numbers. There is a need for developing new highways in the country,” Gadkari said.

The Minister was addressing a gathering here where Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of three highway projects (341 km long) worth Rs 13,802 crore at the Rajiv Gandhi Education City at Rai today.

“We have a road strength of 48 lakh km in the country, out of which 96,000 km are national highways. We will increase the strength of national highways from 96,000 km to 1.50 lakh km by coming December,” he said.

He further noted that single lanes will be made to double lanes while two lanes will be turned into four lanes, six lanes and eight lanes.

He said that road projects worth Rs 32,000 crore will be undertaken in Haryana this year.

Gadkari said that Eastern Peripheral expressway would be the first axis controlled project in the country where vehicles would be able to run at a speed of 120 km per hour.

According to the Minister, Delhi will be the biggest gainer with the coming up of both Eastern Peripheral expressway highway and Western Peripheral expressway highways.

“Delhi will be the biggest gainer as traffic problem will ease, level of pollution will come down and number of accidents will drop,” he said, adding that states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana will also be benefited with these highway projects.

Gadkari stated that his ministry would commence work on the 14-lane Delhi to Meerut Expressway project this month.

He said a decision has also been taken to develop a transport, educational and medicinal hub alongside the new expressways.

“Amenities like petrol pumps, helipads, restaurants, fruits and vegetables pavilions, entertainment, dhabas for truck drivers, will come up on the roadside which will generate employment,” he said.

The Union minister said that his ministry’s aim was to contribute 2 per cent to GDP in next five years.

“We are also working on how to give employment to 50 lakh youth in coming five years,” he said.

He noted that water, power, transport and communication were the keys to take the country forward.

The minister said that a study has been initiated to develop express highway from Delhi to Jind, Jind to Ludhiana, Ludhiana to Amritsar and Amritsar to Katra which will facilitate travelling from Delhi to Katra in eight hours.

“I hope with the support of the governments of Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, we will be able to reach Katra for Vaishno Devi from Delhi in a car in eight hours,” he said.

Gadkari said under Jalmarg Vikas Yojana, projects have been approved for Ganga Mahanadi, Brahmaputra and others.

“For Yamuna river, a DPR (Detailed Project Report) has been prepared. We have seen a dream that a waterway will be developed for enabling people to see Taj.

“A company of Netherlands is preparing the DPR. Since Parliament did not function during last three sessions, the projects for converting 111 rivers into inland waterways could not be taken up,” he added.