Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the 74-km Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME), a project that is expected to decongest roads in the national capital and cut the travel time between the two locations from two hours to 45 minutes.
The project, slated to cost Rs 7,566 crore, will include the construction of the 28-km 14-lane Delhi-Dasna section. In its entirety, the DME will have 14 bridges, 28 km of cycle tracks, 4.66 km of elevated stretches, 22 vehicular underpasses and six flyovers/interchanges.
Lauding former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for taking up the ‘golden quadrilateral’ as well as rural road-link schemes, Modi remarked that the government intended to follow his example. “People were killed in the Kedarnath tragedy. My government is functioning to turn this time of crisis into one of opportunity. We plan to provide Haridwar, Gangotri, Yamnotri and Badrinath (all Hindu pilgrimage destinations) with proper road connectivity. We also plan to aid Uttarakhand, which could not develop due to lack of proper roads,” he said.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated the renovation project for the 22-km Dasna-Hapur section of National Highway-24 on the occasion.
Elaborating on the road projects being undertaken by the government, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said, “The DME will decongest Delhi roads and also reduce pollution. We are also expediting work on the Muzaffarnagar-Dehradun road, which will reduce the travel time from Delhi to just 2.5-3 hours. Besides that, we plan to extend the Delhi-Dasna highway to Lucknow, so the duration of the journey is reduced.”
The Delhi-Gangotri road project will also be announced soon, he added.
Moving on, the Prime Minister told the gathering that the government would abolish the interview process for class III & class IV jobs in the New Year, basing appointments solely on merit. “I am also a member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh. I urge the Uttar Pradesh chief minister to stop the interview process for jobs in the state, and allow them on merit. In fact, I urge all chief ministers to do the same, so the meritorious can get jobs,” Modi said.
Though Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was not present at the foundation stone-laying function, state cabinet minister for labour and employment Shahid Mazoor was sent to fill in for him. Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik and a host of central ministers also attended the event.
The assembly polls for Uttar Pradesh will be held in 2017.