Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced on Thursday that the Chennai-Bengaluru Greenfield Expressway is expected to be completed by December this year. Gadkari also called upon the governments of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to assist the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in acquiring construction materials, such as aggregates and fly ash, for the projects in their respective states.
Gadkari assured the Lok Sabha that the Ministry is making every effort to complete the highway ahead of schedule, enabling travelers to cover the distance between Chennai and Bengaluru in just two hours. To address the challenges faced by NHAI in the construction of highways in Tamil Nadu, Gadkari revealed that he has already discussed the matter with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin.
In response to a question from DMK member Dayanidhi Maran, Gadkari avoided politicizing the issue and stressed the importance of obtaining necessary resources for road construction. He expressed willingness to hold discussions with the state government officials and NHAI representatives to resolve the roadblocks and expedite the project.
Gadkari then turned the attention towards the NH-774 greenfield highway connecting Kollam in Kerala with Madurai in Tamil Nadu. He informed the Lok Sabha that the Kerala government has accepted the Centre’s proposal to bear 25% of the land acquisition costs for the project, instead of the initially agreed upon 50%, and is also willing to waive off the state GST of 9%.
In response to RSP member N K Premachandran’s query regarding the Centre’s stance if the state government refuses to contribute its share, Gadkari confirmed that the Kerala Chief Minister has agreed to the proposal, adding that they are awaiting a formal response from the Kerala government.
Gadkari emphasized the importance of cooperation from state governments, especially with regard to providing aggregates and granting permissions for mining, to enable the smooth progress of the projects.
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