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Centre's nod for 22 express highways worth Rs 1.5 lakh cr in Karnataka

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In a major thrust to infrastructure development in Karnataka, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry on December 10 gave the nod for 22 Green express highways in Karnataka worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

This includes a new alignment of the Pune-Bengaluru Express Highway, which will be completed in the next few years at a cost of Rs 50,000 crore.

"Today we met Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. We have just sanctioned projects worth more than Rs 1.5 lakh crore for the state. Actually, the annual infrastruture plan for Karnataka was Rs 2,150 crore, which we decided to increase to Rs 3,990 crore," said Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of the 10th edition of Excon-2019, a five-day International Construction Equipment and Construction Technology Trade Fair here.

The event has been organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in association with the Karnataka government, Ministry for Road Transport and Highways and the National Highway Authority of India.

“We are making 22 green express highways. Today we cleared the Pune-Bengaluru project as a Green Express Highway, a new alignment of 600 km, costing about Rs 50,000 crore." Gadkari said, adding his ministry and the state have sanctioned 2,300 km of new roads where the Detailed Project Report is ready.

The bidding process would start soon, he said, adding that the Chief Minister had given an assurance on clearing any hassles related to land acquisition and environment clearance for these projects.

Another important infrastructure project of ring road in Bengaluru was also resolved in the meeting, with the Centre agreeing to the States request to bear 80 per cent of the land acquisition cost, he said.

However, the Ministry expected the state to exempt taxes on steel and cement to be used for building the ring road.

“So, today the problem with the ring road is resolved and today it will be a great present from the chief minister to the people of Karnataka, Gadkari said.

He opined that these highway projects would become the growth engine for Karnataka.