Granting special status to Andhra Pradesh not viable, says Nitin Gadkari
If we give special status to Andhra today, another state will ask for it tomorrow, and then another, says Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari.india Updated: Mar 17, 2018 16:16 IST
On a day the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari ruled out granting special status to Andhra Pradesh because it was “constitutionally not viable” and “practically not possible”.
“We have given many packages to Andhra Pradesh. If we give special status to Andhra today, another state will ask for it tomorrow, and then another (the day after). If everyone demands special status, it will not be practically possible. So we told them that we will cooperate with them, and we are willing to provide them with funds… It is unfortunate,” he said at the News18 Rising India summit.
Agreeing with his cabinet colleague, Union minister of railways and coal Piyush Goyal said the Andhra issue had become more attached to sentimentality than reality. “The Centre has fulfilled all responsibility towards Andhra Pradesh....But you can’t have a position where you keep asking for money and don’t do work on the ground,” he added.
Goyal said the Centre has given Rs 2,500 crore for the Amravati project but little progress was seen. Asked if the TDP will return to the NDA fold, he quipped: “Politics is all about possibility.”
At the same event, Gadkari admitted that the highways ministry will not be able to meet the target of laying 41km of roads per day it had set in 2017-18. However, he said the ministry will achieve the target of building 28km of roads per day by March 30. “And next year, we will construct 40km per day. This rate will be the highest in the world,” he said.
The Union minister then went on to inform the gathering that the 14-lane Delhi-Dasna stretch of the National Highway-24 and the Eastern Peripheral Expressway have been completed, and will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi between April 8 and 10.
Goyal, for his part, said his ministry was working on bringing the charm of the Railways back without focusing specifically on Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Durontos. “Our priority is the poor railway passenger,” he added.
He said the railway ministry was doubling the average freight speed from the present 23.5km/hr to at least 47 km/hr, and on the passenger side from 46km/hr to 71 km/hr.