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Will clear Rs. 35K cr more road projects in 8-10 days: Nitin Gadkari

Having recently cleared stalled highway projects worth Rs 40,000 crore, the government is now set to sort out issues relating to pending schemes involving an expenditure of Rs 35,000 crore over the next 8-10 days, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.

“I have already cleared projects worth Rs 40,000 crore of the Rs 75,000 crore stalled projects. I will sort out the issues involving the remaining ones in the next 8-10 days,” Gadkari, Minister of Road, Transport and Highways, said addressing a function to commemorate 142nd foundation day of the Mumbai Port Trust.

Gadkari said some 265 road and national highway projects worth Rs 75,000 crore were stalled due to reasons ranging from land acquisition to environmental clearance and had turned into Non-performing Assets, with several companies executing those going for Corporate Debt Restructuring. “The issues mainly involve land acquisition and delays in clearances from ministries like the Railways, Defence and Environment and Forests,” he said.

In a boost to the infrastructure sector, the transport ministry had last Monday approved worth over Rs 40,000 crore of highway projects to be implemented over the next couple of years. The government is committed to develop Mumbai as a world class city, Gadkari said, adding, a state-of-the-art passenger terminal would be built at the Mumbai Port.

The Minister also said he has drawn up a plan to augment infrastructure in the megapolis and announced setting up of a committee under former chairperson of the Mumbai Port Trust Rani Jadhav to suggest ways for optimum use of the 1,800 acres of land in possession of the trust.

The committee, which will have experts from different fields, will hold public consultations before finalising its report and submitting it within three months.

The plan includes, among other things, building world class cruise terminal, new waterways projects, a 500-room floating hotel to be anchored off the Raj Bhavan coast, 3-4 floating restaurants, a Ferris Wheel on the lines of the London Eye and marinas and jetties to promote intra-city water transport in Mumbai.

Gadkari said the estimated value of the port trust land is around Rs 75,000 crore and categorically ruled out handing it over private builders.

“Port Trust land is a public property and none of it will be given to private builders,” he said. Once the committee submits its report, the government will float international tenders for execution on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis, he added.

Gadkari said his ministry will soon commission a study to the Indian Roads Research Organisation to understand, analyse and suggest remedies to traffic bottlenecks in Mumbai. “This report, when ready, will be handed over to the Maharashtra government for implementation,” he said.

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