India's road infrastructure to match United States by 2024: Nitin Gadkari
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has assured that India's road infrastructure will be at par with those in United States in just two years time. Gadkari, who was replying to a debate in Lok Sabha, said a good road network will help bring down cost of logistics and boost the economy. The minister had earlier said that India is aiming to build 50 kms of national highways every day this year, improving its previous best of 38 kms per day, which itself is a world record.
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Referring to former US President John F Kennedy, Gadkari said, “To make India prosperous, I will ensure that before December 2024, India's road infrastructure will be like that of America." Kennedy had said that American roads are not good because America is rich, but America is rich because American roads are good.
Gadkari said his ministry had brought down the cost of some projects with the help of innovative use of technology. “Prioritizing road safety, we have done away with the outdated system of DPR. Incorporating the world's best practices, we have replaced it with PMC system. It is our endeavour to reduce the cost of construction and improve quality of construction by incorporating world-class technology. We have brought down the construction cost of Majauli Bridge built over the Brahmaputra from ₹6000 crore to ₹680 crore."
Highlighting his ministry's achievements in improving highway connectivity and road infrastructure, Gadkari said that it now takes only 40 minutes to travel to Meerut from Delhi via Delhi-Meerut Expressway.
Gadkari has also said that the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, which will reduce travel time between the two cities to just 12 hours, will be completed within this year. "From Ladakh, Leh to Srinagar we will go to Mumbai.... before the end of this year, we will try that from Srinagar you are able to reach Mumbai in 20 hours," Gadkari said. Work is on in full swing for the Zojila tunnel in Kashmir as well and is expected to be completed by 2024.
Gadkari had earlier said that the government is targeting a pace of 50 km per day for the construction of national highways in the country. In 2020-21, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) constructed a record 37 kilometre of national highways per day.