Modi launches mega expressways in Delhi, takes a dig at Congress
Delhi: Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on Sunday inaugurated two highways connecting Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi and its satellite cities, moving to achieve his government’s target of building almost 45 km of roads every day and opening 50 strategically important road projects by early next year.
“Modern infrastructure plays an important role in improving the living standard of 120 crore Indians. Infrastructure does not differentiate on the basis caste, creed, religion and economic status,” said Modi as he accused his political rivals of trying to block his development plans.
“The truth is the Congress and the parties with it block or make fun of any work being done for the poor, Dalits, or tribal people,” he said after inaugurating the 135km-long Eastern Peripheral Expressway in Baghpat city of Uttar Pradesh.
Modi began his schedule by opening the first phase of the 14-lane Delhi-Meerut Expressway that on completion will cut travel time between the two cities from 150 minutes to 45 minutes. The Rs 7,500-crore expressway will do away with 31 traffic signals on the Delhi-Meerut road, the busiest highway in the region.
Hundreds of people lined up to cheer and wave as Modi and transport minister Nitin Gadkari rode in two separate open cars after inaugurating the expressway.
Modi next inaugurated the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) that will reduce the volume of commercial traffic by 35% in Delhi, allowing 52,000 vehicles to bypass Delhi every day. The Rs 11,000-crore EPE will connect Sonipat to Palwal through Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Faridabad while serving as a bypass for vehicles entering Delhi.
Modi’s government has made road construction its priority: between 2014-15 and 2018-19, the overall budgetary allocation for the highways sector was increased from Rs 32,000 crore to Rs 71,000 crore.
In October, the government approved the Rs 6.92 lakh crore Bharatmala project which includes development of highways running through economic corridors, border and coastal areas and expressways. The 24,800 km Bharatmala program has a completion deadline of 2022 and is expected to help the economy by generating jobs and increasing demand for everything from steel to cement.