Issues like land acquisition delaying road projects: Gadkari

Panaji, Jun 12 (PTI): Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday said that certain issues, including hurdles being faced in land acquisition, were affecting the schedule of road projects.
He said timely completion of a project was important for its cost-effectiveness.
“There are some problems in maintaining the time schedule. We need cooperation of the state government to tackle them. Land acquisition for these projects is a big task,” he said.
Gadkari was in Goa to chair the two-day long meeting, which ended on Tuesday, to review the ongoing projects undertaken across the country by the Ministry of Road Transport and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
“We are taking a review of 1,200 projects of over 27,000 kms of length and costing more than Rs 7-8 lakh crore,” the Minister for Roads, Highways and Shipping said.
According to him, the ministry was trying to see how to maintain the schedule of every project.
“The ministry expects cooperation from all stakeholders to complete land acquisition in time. Timely completion of any project is important for the cost-effectiveness,” the minister said.
Gadkari said that at some places, there are also delays due to the environment clearances.
“Some of the problems in completing the projects are because of the state governments and some because of central government’s different departments. We are trying to make it as early as possible,” he said.
Talking about the projects in Goa, Gadkari said a retired official has been made in-charge of land acquisition.
“We have to strengthen his hands. I suggest that we take some retired people, whose salaries would be taken care of by the NHAI, to speed up the land acquisition process,” he said.
Gadkari denied that the absence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar led to delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects in the state.
“Our (Goa) ministers are very competent. They are giving good cooperation,” he said.
He said the Goa government has completed all the formalities required to start the projects.
“In the absence of Parrikar, all the people are behaving very responsibly and they are cooperating with us. We don’t have any problem,” he added.
Gadkari said the work on third bridge on Mandovi river near Panaji has been going on at a fast pace.
“This would be the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the country. The first one being Worli Bandra Sea Link project in Mumbai,” he said.
“Another bridge over Zuari river on Panaji-Margao highway will be the world’s iconic project,” he added.