New Delhi: With an eye on assembly polls in Rajasthan due next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday inaugurated highway and road projects worth Rs15,000 crore for the state in Udaipur on Tuesday.

Modi said his government has tried to bring in a culture of project-completion, unlike past governments that allowed them to languish for years. “Infrastructure is very important for development of a country and they are expensive and take long time. To undertake such projects needs courage and that is why politicians run from long-term projects," said Modi. He added that in the coming days the government proposed to take up another Rs9,000 crore worth of infra projects in Rajasthan.

Stressing the importance of infrastructure for development, he said these highways will help farmers, boost tourism and open up economic opportunities for the local people. They would not only help link Rajasthan more efficiently but also be gateways to progress.

“You cannot imagine how much strength it takes to work in this system and get things done… .It is taking so much strength for me to take out lapsed projects and then revive them," said Modi.

He said he was happy that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dream project of Golden Quadrilateral is complete now as today he inaugurates Chambal bridge in Kota, which connects the East-West corridor of the project. Modi inaugurated 12 national highways projects worth Rs5,610 crore and laid foundation stones for 11 projects worth Rs9,490 crore.

Gadkari said the centre plans to spend around Rs2 trillion in the next five years for building national highways in Rajasthan. Rajasthan had just 7,498km of national highways till June 2014 but the centre had managed to double this figure to 14,465km in just three years, he added.

Announcing new projects, Gadkari said a 195-km greenfield expressway will come up between Delhi and Jaipur. This will start from Kherki Daula in Gurgaon, connect with Dwarka Expressway, then, going via Pataudi, it will connect with NH-8 at Chandwaji near Jaipur. There will also be a new railway line from Jaisalmer to Kandla.

The move comes at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing 180-plus seats out of 200 in the next assembly elections in 2018. The target was set in early May during the party’s state-level working committee meeting. In the 2013 assembly polls, the BJP won 163 seats, while the Congress party got 22.

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje used the stage to hint at the BJP’s agenda for next poll. She said, “We are committed to new, young and modern Rajasthan." The CM said around 600 start-ups have been launched in the state after her government took office.

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