Port Wings News Network:
Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari on 13 October 2020 inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for 8 National Highway projects in Kerala. The event was attended by the Governor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Shri Pinarai Vijayan and Union MoSs Gen (Retd) Dr V K Singh and Shri V Muraleedharan, Ministers from the State, Members of Parliaments, MLAs and senior officers from the Centre and the State.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Gadkari said that in line with the Prime Minister’s vision for a New India, development of world-class transport infrastructure has been prioritized through initiatives such as the Bharatmala Pariyojana, India’s largest ever infrastructure development program.
He said, the Bharatmala Pariyojna was conceptualized through a scientific study of freight traffic movement between key origin-destination pairs to enable efficient freight and passenger movement. The Minister informed that 35,000 km of National Highways are being developed as a part of Bharatmala Pariyojana in the country. Out of this 1,234 km of National Highways are being developed as a part of Bharatmala Pariyojana in the Kerala State. In addition, 119 KM of Port Connectivity Roads are planning to upgrade under Bharatmala/Sagarmala Scheme. Many flagship corridors such as Delhi Mumbai Expressway, Delhi Amritsar Katra Expressway, Chennai – Bengaluru Expressway, etc. are also being developed as a part of Bharatmala Pariyojana.
Shri Gadkari added that Mumbai – Kanyakumari Economic Corridor with a length of 1,760 km is one such corridor being developed as a part of the Bharatmala Pariyojana. The corridor improving connectivity to the entire western coast of the country from Mumbai till Kanyakumari will greatly enable the economic prosperity of the region. As a part of the Mumbai – Kanyakumari Economic Corridor, 23 projects with a length of 650 km are being developed in the state of Kerala at an investment of Rs 50,000 crore. He said, the corridor traversing the entire length of Kerala from North to South is expected to be the lifeline of Kerala. The corridor improves connectivity to major cities / towns such as Kasargod, Thalassery, Kannur, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Kochi, Alappuzha, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram.
The Minister said, works have been sanctioned and construction is being initiated in another 7 projects of length 177 km at an investment of Rs 11,571 crore. It includes construction of high level bridge at Cheruthoni River, which was damaged/approaches completely washed off due to natural calamities during southwest monsoon season 1st June to 19 August,2018. He said, the government is committed to ensure expedited completion of these projects to enable economic prosperity of the state. These projects will change the face of Kerala. Shri Gadkari informed that presently, Kerala has NHs of 1782 km length. As much as 488 km of NH length has been constructed during 2014-20, which depicts an increase of 569 per cent over 2009-14 period. The Expenditure, he informed, on construction of NH from 2014-2020 is Rs 3,820 crore, while another Rs 671 crore were spent on maintenance of NH in the State. Allocation under flood repair/ordinary repair is Rs 96.50 crore. Shri Gadkari said, works costing Rs 19,800 crore are targeted for completion by 2024, while 30 projects of an aggregate length of 549 km for an amount of Rs. 5327 crore are under implementation. He asked the Chief Minister to consider PPP model for road development which will bring more capital in building infrastructure.
Underlining very high land acquisition cost for roads in Kerala Shri Gadkari called making aggregates & sand royalty free and for exempting other road materials like iron/steel, cement from State GST that will make very helpful to Kerala for reducing the cost of road construction. The Minister invited CM to Delhi for detailed discussion on these issues. He assured all support of Union Road & Highways Ministry. Shri Gadkari called upon Kerala CM to resolve the issues in road completion. Shri Gadkari also called upon the State to identify black spot on Highways and offered help in rectifying the same. He re-iterated that safer roads are important to reduce accidents and save lives.
MoS-RTH Gen (Retd) Dr V K Singh said that these projects will lot of good to Kerala. It will improve connectivity and trade & commerce through economic corridors. He said one such corridor Mumbai to Kanyakumari passes North to South through Kerala. Of this over 1700 km length Corridor, 23 projects of 650 length fall in Kerala which will cost approximately Rs 50000 crore which will make Kerala more prosperous and improve connectivity to some of the major Cities like Asargod, Kozhikode,Ernakulam, Kolam etc.
Kerala Governor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan complemented the central government for fulfilling the aspirations of the people of the State. Chief Minister Shri Pinarai Vijayan, Union MoS for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs Shri V Muraleedharan and Kerala Minister for Public Works Shri G.Sudhakaran also addressed the event.
NH 66 is the lifeline of Kerala connecting to Tamil Nadu at South and Karnataka at North which is a part of Kanyakumari Mumbai Corridor, and it is one of the important Economic Corridor in the country. As pivotal part of Mumbai-Kanyakumari Corridor, it will boost the economic prosperity of the State. Partial access-controlled 4/6 lane will ensure decongestion of traffic, inter-state connectivity to be faster and hassle-free, business centres like Kozhikode, Kochi to get especially benefitted, transformational impact on agriculture and fisheries sector, enhanced accessibility to open a vista of opportunities for Kerala spices items.
The other benefits include better synergy between road-port transportation will further ‘Port-led development’, it being a major stride towards strengthening tourism sector of the state, and generation of a large number of employment and self-employment opportunities. The new projects will provide better connectivity to various tourist places, historical places and religious places. The widening of NH 66 is the long-cherished dream of all Keralites. The Widening of NH 66 which is the life line of Kerala will result in booming of other infrastructures.
The new projects will also provide employment to the unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled manpower of the region. These will improve safe traffic flow by reducing collisions on the undivided highways and reduce travel time, as well as maintenance cost of the vehicles, and saving of fuel. Implementation of the project would result in enhanced socio-economic conditions of the locality. The projects will improve transport of agricultural goods & access to greater markets, thereby reducing the cost of goods and services.