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NH-1 six-laning project to finish by March: Vijay Goel

Target set: Centre has directed that at least 30km patch of the road should be constructed every day

punjab Updated: Nov 21, 2017 13:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
NH-1 six-laning,condition of roads,national highways
Union minister Vijay Goel (C) with BJP leader Anil Joshi (L) and officers inspecting the NH project in Amritsar.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Union minister of state for statistics and programme implementation and parliamentary affairs, Vijay Goel, said that the six-laning project of NH-1 from Bidhipur to Dhilwan will be completed by March next year.

The minister was here on Monday to review the progress of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLAD) and the status of infrastructure development projects in the road sector, being implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), costing over Rs 150 crore.

He was accompanied by the ministry’s project monitoring director DK Ojha. He also conducted a meeting with the senior officials of the state government. Reviewing the Bidhipur-Dhilwan (20km) stretch of the NH-1, Goel said that the original cost set for the project was Rs 343.72 crore.

“The Ram Mandir issue is not political. It is associated to the sentiments of people.” — Vijay Goel

“However, due to delay in the forest department’s approval for cutting trees and the delay in shifting of interfering utilities by the owning department, the project got delayed. It is now expected to be completed by March 2018,” he said.

“As of now, 80% of the project work has been completed and Rs 242.95 spent,” he said. “The project will provide an all-weather and reliable connectivity to the Amritsar residents, resulting in faster economic development of the region.” The Union minister expressed concern over the slow progress of the Amritsar bypass improvement project. The aim is to construct an additional structures and service road on the NH-1, a project worth Rs 230 crore.

Speaking on another mega road project, the four-laning of Ludhiana to Talwandi Sabo section of NH-95, he said that the original cost of the project was set at Rs 479 crore. It is also being carried out by the NHAI on the engineering procurement construction (EPC) mode. “The project got delayed by 12 months due to internal issues of the contractor. All issues have been resolved and the work has been expedited since August 2017,” he said.

Cornering the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the road infrastructure issue, the minister said that the UPA regime could not complete these projects and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is doing the pending job.

“During the UPA regime, the speed of road construction was 3-4km per day, while during the current regime, when Nitin Gadkari is the minister concerned; the speed has gone up to 26km per day. In fact, the Centre has now set a target of constructing 30km road stretch per day,” he said.

He requested the state government to adhere to the guidelines on the MPLADS, which includes that all recommended eligible works should be sanctioned within 75 days from the date of receipt of the recommendation.

On Ram mandir and language

Meanwhile, the BJP minister said, “The Ram Mandir issue is not political. It is associated to the sentiments of people.”

On being asked about marginalisation of Punjabi language on signboards installed along the national highways, the Union minister said that the issue will be raised with the Centre and resolved soon.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 13:10 IST