New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) Road construction has touched record 30 km per day, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari told the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
While responding to queries raised by members during Question Hour, the Road Transport and Highways Minister also said Bharatmala Pariyojana is an important project that will change the face of the country.
“Today the information which I have received is that our construction record comes to 29.6 km, means 30 km per day…and this is for the first time, the highest record was achieved by NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) in the history of the country,” he said.
In five years, the total road construction will match the likes of the US and the European nations.
The government envisages building 34,800 km of highways at a cost of about Rs 5.35 lakh crore under the ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojna.
Until now, the contract has been awarded for 13,521 km and detailed project report (DPR) for 16,500 km is in the pipeline. Besides, bids have been invited for 4,800 km.
NHAI, he said, has also made a world record by laying down 12,500 cubic meters of concrete on a stretch of 2.54 km.
To a question about giving exemption to differently-abled persons from paying road tax, the minister said this exemption is an issue of states and 11 states have already extended this exemption.
Delhi has not yet given this exemption and “I will request Delhi to give exemption in road tax to disabled people,” he added.
Regarding Char Dham project, Gadkari said the ministry has taken up improvement and widening of 825 km (existing 889 km) of NHs on the route.
This will provide improved and safer road connectivity from Rishikesh to Janki Chati (Yamunotri), Gangotri, Gaurikund (Kedarnath) and Mana (Badrinath) including Tanakpur to Pithoragarh section of Kailash- Mansarovar route in Uttarakhand at a cost of Rs 12,072 crore under 53 separate projects.
The NH from Uttarkashi to Gangotri (94km) passes through the Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone (BESZ). No work has been sanctioned on this section till date, he said.
“Development of this section will be carried out in accordance with the guidelines prescribed in Zonal Master Plan approved by Ministry of Environment and Forest on July 16, 2020 and the final recommendation of the Supreme Court-appointed High Powered Committee on road width and environmental protection measures suggested based on rapid Environment Impact Assessment conducted by the ministry,” he said.
He added that the project for development of road connectivity to Char Dham was initially targeted for completion by March 2020.
However, the schedule date is delayed mainly due to litigation in the National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court, he added.