MADURAI: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said here on Friday that the East Coast Road from Chennai to Kanyakumari would be brought under National Highways and the 554-km stretch would be made four lane at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore under the Bharat Matha Project.
Addressing a meeting after laying the foundation stone for widening works of two highways near Viraganur ring road here on Friday, Gadkari said, East Coast Road from Kanyakumari to Nagapattinam (a length of 427 Km) and Pondicherry to Chennai (a length of 127 Km) would be made four lane.
“The entire stretch of ECR between Chennai and Kanyakumari will be brought under National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Since a number of culturally important places are located along this stretch and a large number of tourists use it, we are going to bring the road under NHAI. Along with this, the 81-km stretch of Manapuram-Kodaikanal-Kumili road will be brought under NHAI,” he said.
Explaining the necessity to improve water transport, he said China and several European countries carry out 40 per cent of transport through waterways. However, we transport up to only three per cent.
“We have decided to create a waterway linking 101 rivers across the nation. Eight rivers from Tamil Nadu also will be included in National Waterway Project,” he said. “Transportation through Buckingham canal from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will be started before the end of 2015,” he added.
Seventeen national highways widening projects at a cost of Rs 10 crore are being taken up in Tamil Nadu, he said. “We look forward to add more highways projects worth another Rs 10 crore for Tamil Nadu in another five years,” he added.
“We are committed to improve the highway infrastructure from 98,000 km to 1.30 lakh km in another five years. For every 1,000 crore road projects, nearly one lakh people get jobs across the country,” he said.
“While the life of bituminous roads is just five to six years, concrete roads remain strong for nearly 50 years. So, we have decided to lay concrete roads in future. We need nearly 95 lakh metric tonnes of cement a year for the purpose,” he said. “Two days ago, I was given a research report that electrical buses can be operated using lithium battery. To save the environment, we will introduce electrical buses in all the metro cities in future,” he added.
He further added that a port at Colachel in Kanyakumari will be developed.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Pon Radhakrishnan said, “Nearly 14 km of roads are being laid a day under NHAI. This will be increased to 30 km a day.