Rs one lakh cr worth highways, tunnels under construction in J&K: Nitin Gadkari
NEW DELHI: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has said that Rs one lakh crore worth works of highways and tunnels etc are going on in Jammu and Kashmir and announced that Zojila tunnel in the Union Territory of Ladakh will be completed in next eight months. He was responding to a question on national channel on the challenge of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to the BJP leaders to show what they have done in Jammu and Kashmir. “One lakh crore worth National Highways and tunnels are under construction in Jammu and Kashmir. Such a large scale of works were never undertaken in J&K during Congress rule,” Gadkari said. He announced that Asia’s largest Zojila tunnel in Kargil district in the Union Territory of Ladakh will be completed within next eight months. Gadkari said from Shimla to Manali and Leh Ladakh and from there to Sonamarg-Gulmarg and Srinagar followed by Katra to New Delhi-Mumbai-Surat, Kanyakumari, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, highways are being constructed. “If we can construct highways, roads, tunnels on such a large scale in just nine years, why the Congress couldn’t do so in 60 years”? the Union Minister asked. Rahul Gandhi during his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Jammu and Kashmir had challenged any BJP leader to travel and show what they have done in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides construction of various National Highways, roads and tunnels in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has proposed several new Highways in the Union Territory. Many such works are also under construction in the Union Territory of Ladakh. Nitin Gadkari said that the 36% increase in the Ministry of Road Transport Budget would enable India to have roads like those in the US by the end of next year. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the last full budget of the Modi Government 2.0, allocated the Ministry of Road Transport Rs 2.7 lakh crore. Praising the Union budget 2023, Gadkari emphasized the importance of focusing on backward areas to improve infrastructure. He said that development comes via roadways and that if roads are good, industries will develop and lead to employment, thereby reducing poverty. He also spoke of the Government’s aim to make India self-reliant and a ‘super economy’ in the world. Responding to the Opposition’s allegations of this being an “election budget”, Gadkari said that some people in the opposition just had to criticise to be in the limelight. The Union Minister also responded to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of the BJP spreading hatred in the country, saying that the BJP is not opening any hatred shops, and that the Wayanad MP must have seen development everywhere, as the BJP did not discriminate in any of their schemes. Gadkari also said that the freebie culture needs to end in the country. “The Government is giving free ration to the people to ensure that no one goes hungry as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, promises of free buses and electricity in elections are not right. The focus should be on creating employment and strengthening the infrastructure,” he said.