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Give highways to us: MP CM to Centre

A new political war has begun with Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan asking Union surface transport minister CP Joshi to hand over almost 3,000 km of national highways running through his state to his government so that it could do a better job of making them “motorable.” Shekhar Iyer reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 11, 2011 00:18 IST
Shekhar Iyer

A new political war has begun with Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan asking Union surface transport minister CP Joshi to hand over almost 3,000 km of national highways running through his state to his government so that it could do a better job of making them “motorable.”

Chouhan wrote a strongly-worded letter to Joshi on Tuesday saying the BJP government would undertake the repairs and maintenance of these roads from its “own resources” as they had become un-motarable and were in extremely bad condition.

“These roads with big pot holes are resulting in accidents and massive traffic jams every day,” the chief minister said. “The condition is worsening day by day.”

In 2003 state polls, road (sadak), along with bijili (power) and pani (water) were three issues on which the BJP rode to power, unseating the Digvijaya Singh government in the state.

Chouhan won the 2008 polls, claiming better delivery on these issues.With the next polls due in 2013, Chouhan wishes to once again focus on them, BJP leaders said.

Two years ago, the maintenance of these roads was with the National Highway Division of the Madhya Pradesh public works department.Later, the maintenance work was entrusted to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

“The failure of the Union ministry of Road Transport and Highways as well as NHAI has forced the State cabinet to pass a resolution seeking de-notification of 10 National Highway stretches due to extremely poor maintenance by NHAI,” Chouhan said.

In June, Chouhan had met Joshi, to draw his attention to lack of progress in building seven national highways of 1,250 km, which was entrusted to the NHAI.

Joshi reportedly assured him that R140 crore would be released to complete the works under inter state connectivity project, Chouhan’s aides said.

Meanwhile, GVK Power and Infrastructure has emerged as a preferred bidder for the R2,815 crore Shivpuri-Dewas national highway project in Madhya Pradesh, by offering a premium of R180.90 crore.