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New Delhi, August 31, 2020
Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari on Sunday inaugurated, through video link, three bridges and two road improvement projects in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
The Minister also laid foundation stones for four other major bridge projects across the rivers Wainganga, Bandiya, Perikota and Perimili. These projects are considered crucial for improving mobility for socio-economic development of the Gadchiroli district.
The projects inaugurated were an 855-metre major bridge across Pranahita river on Nizamabad–Jagdalpur Road (NH 63) at a cost of Rs 168 crores and a 630-metre high-level bridge across the Indravati River near Patagudam on NH 63 at a cost of Rs 248 crores.
These also included a 30-metre-high bridge near Lankachen on Bejurpalli–Aheri Road, improvement of Bejurpalli-Aheri Road (SH 275) between Watra and Moyabinpeta and improvement of Garanji–Pustola Road.
Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari said that, with the construction of these key bridges, the National Highway connectivity in Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh-Telangana is complete now. “This is a dream which has come true after nearly 25 years, when it was conceived when I was a Minister in Maharashtra.”
Gadkari said the total length of National Highways in Gadchiroli district has increased from 54 km to 647 km during his tenure. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has approved 44 road projects of 541 km length with an outlay of Rs 1,740 crore for Gadchiroli district, he said.
“The all-weather road network in far-flung areas of Naxal-affected districts like Gadchiroli will improve the socio-economic development in the region and in upcoming two years or so the Gadchiroli district will see an all-round transformation,” the Minister remarked.
He complimented the engineers and contractors who completed the construction of bridges in Gadchiroli, despite the fear of Naxalites. The bridge across River Indravati was completed under very trying and war-like conditions. A police station had to be set up in order to help construct the bridge.
Gadkari also laid the foundation stones for four major bridges on Perimilli, Bandiya, Pearikota and Waingagana rivers in the district. The existing bridges across these rivers are narrow and often get submerged during monsoon. The bridge across the Wainganga River of approximately 825 meters will improve the connectivity between Gadchiroli and Chandrapur district.
The Minister also asked NHAI officials to utilize the saved amount of Rs 50 crore during the works of major bridges to construct 14 minor bridges and ensure seamless transportation in the otherwise inaccessible areas of Gadchiroli district.
He also promised to approve the 35 km road development between Alapalli–Bamragarh this year and the remaining 65 km in the next financial year. He sought the state Government’s nod to connecting Desaiganj–Brahmapuri with Nagpur under the Broad Gauge Metro connectivity plan, which would reduce the travel time to 75 minutes from the current two-and-a-half hours.
Speaking about his vision for the development of backward areas in the capacity of MSME Minister, Gadkari said that, with bamboo available in plenty, Gadchiroli could become the hub of Agarbatti manufacturing, whose import has now been stopped. There is a scope to set up 100 units, which would give employment to local people.
He said he would initiate a project for the conversion of rice to ethanol in Gadchiroli as part of the bio-fuel development programme. “This will provide greater value for rice growers and also create jobs,” he added. He requested State Public Works Minister Eknath Shinde to explore various avenues for job creation in Gadchiroli with a target of providing employment to 10,000 youth.
Maharashtra PWD Minister Ashok Chavan said road development in Gadchiroli would help industrial development, job creation and uplift of living standards of people, besides helping in the maintenance of law and order. Ashok Nete, who represents Gadchiroli-Chimur in the Lok Sabha, other public representatives and officials of Central and State Government were present at the virtual ceremony.
Wainganga river, which divides Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts is one of the important rivers in the State of Maharashtra. Due to the current condition of bridge situated on Wainganga, commuters were facing many difficulties. People living in the tribal-dominated areas of Ballarpur, Kothari, Gondpimpri and Ashti were facing challenges regarding employment opportunities, import & export of agricultural products, market access, medical amenities and transportation.
To eliminate hardships of the people, Gadkari proposed an ambitious project to construct a bridge on Wainganga river, along National Highway 353 B, at a total cost of Rs 99 crore, to be completed by NHAI and PWD.