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New Delhi : Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on December 19, 2020, inaugurated and laid foundation of 33 NH projects in Karnataka through virtual mode. These projects include 1,197 km long roads worth Rs 10,904 crore.

The event was presided over by Karnataka Chief Minister Y S Yeddiyurappa and was attended by former Prime Minister H D Devegowda, Union Ministers Prahlad Joshi, Sadanand Gowda, Gen Dr V K Singh, ministers from the State and senior officers.

Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari informed that over 900 km NH length has been added in Karnataka during last six years and it now stands at 7,652 km. He said a total of 71 works are in progress in 2,384 km length at a cost of Rs 37,311 Crore. Out of these, more than 70% progress has been achieved in 26 works amounting to Rs 12,286 Crore covering a length of 1,127 km. He said, up to 70% progress has been achieved in 45 works amounting to Rs 25,025 Crore covering a length of 1,257 km, according to a PIB release.

Gadkari added that for providing smooth connectivity to the ports for the benefit of trade and economy, 4-laning of the entire coastal road from Goa Border to Kerala Border connecting port city of Belekeri, Karwar, and Mangalore covering a length of 278 km have been taken up at a cost of Rs 3,443 crore and the work has been substantially completed. Further, in view of the safety of road users, 3 works for improving the safety by providing protective measures on Hill slopes in Shiradi Ghat on NH-75, Charmadi Ghat on NH-73, and Sampaje Ghat on NH-275 have been sanctioned amounting to Rs 115 crore.

Gadkari further informed that the Union Government shall invest approximately Rs 1,16,144 crore in Karnataka State in the coming years. He said 11 road projects of 275 km worth Rs 5,083 crore have been awarded in the State during the financial years 2019-21. The Minister informed that Central Road Fund (CRF) works worth Rs 8,330 crore have been sanctioned till now for the State. Annual Accrual during this year is Rs 435 crore while total release during this year is Rs 217 Crore. Gadkari declared release of this year’s remaining Rs 218 Crore under CRF.

Gadkari called upon the State to take up production of Ethanol in a big way as it is one of the largest producer of sugarcane in the country. He said the country is already over-producing sugar and rice and sufficient stock are available with the government. The surplus may be converted to Ethanol, which can be used as an alternative fuel for vehicles. He said this will not only improve farmers’ income, but will also be an indigenous source of fuels for the country.

Former Prime Minister H D Devegowda praised the steps taken by the government in developing the Road network in the State. He said new technology has entirely changed the developmental scenario. He said what we see today, is unbelievable.

Mallikarjun Kharge, MP and former leader of Congress party in LS, too praised the co-operative nature of Gadkari calling him pro-development. He requested the Union Minister to release CRF amounts to all projects in the State equally.