Government looking into possibility of building smart cities along Delhi-Mumbai Expressway: Nitin Gadkari

The Rs 1 lakh crore expressway project is scheduled to be completed within three years

Indian government, Smart cities, Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway, Nitin Gadkari, Finance Ministry, Prime Minister's Office, NHAI, NAREDCO, Land acquisition, Tribal areas, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Road construction activities, Stalled road projects, Logistics parks, Smart villages, Cold storage, Economic activity, Bus stations, Bus ports, Pre-cast bridges, Cement cartel, Bitumen roads, Cement manufacturers, Infrastructure investment, Corona, China

The government is looking into the possibility of building smart cities along the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway that is being built on a new alignment, said Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. However, a final decision on this will be taken by the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office, he said.

"The government is looking if NHAI can plan a township along the highway (Delhi-Mumbai Expressway) ... a Cabinet note has been floated for this," Road Transport, Highways and MSME Minister Gadkari said during an interaction with real estate body NAREDCO.

The Rs 1 lakh crore flagship Delhi-Mumbai Expressway project is scheduled to be completed within three years and and expected to cut down the travel time between Delhi and Mumbai to just 12 hours.

Gadkari said the government has saved about Rs 16,000 crore on land acquisition front alone on the project on a new alignment and will pass through backward and far-flung tribal areas of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

A large number of road side amenities and other projects can be taken along the highways ushering in development of the areas, he added.

The minister said road construction activities were planned at a higher pace now at least thrice the rate of construction earlier and projects worth Rs 15 lakh crore were likely to be taken in two years.

Most of the 406 stalled road projects worth Rs 3.85 lakh crore have been rolled out barring Rs 40,000 crore worth of projects that had to be terminated, he said.

The senior minister said there are several opportunities in logistics parks, smart cities, smart villages, cold storage, road construction where developers can and should focus and think of something innovative idea to start an economic activity.

He said about 2,000 commercial places like bus stations can easily be converted into bus ports and stressed the need for pre-cast bridges and constructions.

The minister also warned people engaged in cement cartel, cautioning them that if they did not restrain bitumen roads will be built.

"We utilise 40% cement," the minister said and asked cement manufacturers to refrain from such activities.

For Rs 100 lakh crore infrastructure investment, as envisaged by the Prime Minister to make India a Rs 5 trillion economy, he said the present situation should be taken as a 'blessing in disguise' and urged players to plan for exports.

"We will win economic war and corona war," he said and added that focus should also be on capturing global market in the present situation where nations were planning to bring their investments out of China.

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