Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday underscored the need for having good roads saying the nation could not develop with good roads and added that the Centre is focusing on improving motorways in the country.
He said a new national highway, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 40,000 crore, will link Surat in western state of Gujarat to South India.
The highway will pass through Nashik, Ahmednagar and Solapur districts of Maharashtra and efforts will be made to link it to Latur district and some other parts of the state’s Marathwada region, the minister said.
He was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of 19 road projects, to be built at a cost of Rs 1,023 crore, at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Park in Latur.
The programme was organised by the Union road transport and highways ministry and the Maharashtra government.
“A large number of highways are under construction in Latur district. These new roads will shape the future of the youth. They will provide new employment opportunities to many youths,” the Union minister said.
He said the Modi government has been focusing on improving the condition of roads.
“Development is impossible without roads. That is why the focus is on improving the roads from the very beginning. In the last few years, a number of roads have been constructed in the country,” Gadkari said.
“When I became a minister there were only 124-km-long highways in Latur district but now that length has increased to 587 km. The number of highways has increased by 338 per cent and works worth Rs 5,000 crore have been sanctioned. In the coming years, Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore will be sanctioned for Latur district,” he said.
Speaking about the broad gauge metro rail project in the Vidarbha region, Gadkari promised to help launch such a venture in Marathwada too.
The minister said he felt sad that water was supplied to Latur, a drought-prone district in central Maharashtra, by train.
“Therefore, it is necessary to deepen lakes, rivers and nullahs while constructing national highways in the future. This will increase water storage and eliminate water scarcity forever,” he said.
On former minister and local MLA Sambhajirao Patil Nilangekar’s demand for a four-lane highway between Latur and Tembhurni in Solapur district, Gadkari announced sanctioning the project on the spot.