Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that the highest priority has been given to the development of Shiradi Ghat.
A DPR will be prepared for developing the 26 km stretch which is currently a two-lane, into a four-lane road with seven tunnels and seven bridges, at a cost of Rs 14,000 crore, he said.
He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for 15 National Highway projects of total length 164 km to be taken up at a cost of Rs 3,163 crore, during a programme held at Cordel Hall in Kulashekara, Mangaluru, on Monday.
A discussion regarding the development of the Shiradi Ghat road has been carried out with the chief minister of Karnataka and the chief secretary of the state government, he added.
Forest department clearance is awaited for the commencement of the work. Once the clearance is received, the work on the Shiradi Ghat tunnel project will be taken up. The tunnel project is important for Dakshina Kannada to develop, said the minister.
Stating that there is a proposal from Karnataka MPs for Railway Over Bridges and bypass roads in several parts of the state including Mangaluru, Gadkari assured of sanctioning the works provided the land will be acquired by the state government.
The sand will be made royalty-free and the state GST on cement will be exempted by the state government, he added.
He said that sanction will be given to the work on Nanthoo Flyover soon. Gadkari’s reaction came after MP Nalin Kumar Kateel requested the former to give a nod to Nanthoor Flyover work.
“Direction has already been given to prepare a DPR towards Mangaluru ring road. Simultaneously, the Mumbai-Kanyakumari express highway which will pass through the region will improve the road connectivity,” said the minister.
Surathkal toll gate issue
Responding to another request by MP Nalin Kumar Kateel to merge Surathkal toll gate with Hejamadi toll gate or to cancel Surathkal toll gate as per the people’s demand, the Union minister said that there are legal hurdles for the merger or cancelling of the toll gate.
However, he told he will hold a meeting in New Delhi and will solve the problem soon.
Gadkari said that the Indian road infrastructure will be developed to a great extent within the next five years.
“The government has sufficient funds and the political will to fulfil the same. The quality of roads in India will be as good as that of American roads by 2024,” he added.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the state government has been batting for the projects which are aimed at tapping the water resources available next to the National Highways, on the model of Maharastra.
The utilisation of water resources will help the farming fraternity, he said.
There are plans to store the water from the westward flowing rivers in order to increase the groundwater level. In the state, 42,000 km of the road network has been developed under the Central Government schemes during the tenure of Nitin Gadkari as the Road Transport and Highways Minister, said Bommai.
“The government of Karnataka will enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Government of India towards the development of ring roads and bypass roads in the state,” he said.
Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mining Pralhad Joshi said that while comparing the tenure of the Congress government at the Centre in 70 years, 1,41,000 km of road was developed during the seven-year tenure of the BJP-led Central government.
Ministers Kota Srinivas Poojary, C C Patil and Sunil Kumar were present, among others.
The works for which the foundation stone was laid by the Union Minister on Monday include double cell VUP at Ambalpady Kundapur-Suratkal section of NH66, VOP at KPT junction-New Mangalore Port road connectivity NH66 and commencement of four-laning of the Bengaluru-Mangaluru section of NH75 from Addhole to Periyashanthi near Kukke Subrahmanya junction and Periya Shanthi to Bantwal including six-lane flyover at Kalladka town.