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Nitin Gadkari, the minister for road transport and highways.
Nitin Gadkari, the minister for road transport and highways.

Government puts Mission 300 projects in the fast lane

The transport ministry along with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to complete 300 highway and expressway projects by the year-end

New Delhi: With less than one year to go for the 2019 general elections, the ministry of road transport and highways is fast-tracking projects under Mission 300.

The ministry along with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to complete 300 highway and expressway projects by the year-end.

“We plan to complete 300-400 road projects so that infrastructure becomes one of the biggest achievements of the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government. Our plan is to target 450 projects and ensure at least 300 are completed," said Nitin Gadkari, the minister for road transport and highways.

Gadkari believes Mission 300 will help Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlight the government’s achievements before the masses during the inaugurations, starting January 2019, and till the time the model code of conduct comes into force. Besides, it would be a huge feat, given that so many projects have never been completed within such a short time.

Gadkari will hold a review meeting with officials from the road ministry, NHAI and representatives of all state governments in Goa on 11-12 June. At present, the state-run NHAI is working on 416 projects, while 800 are being implemented by the road ministry. Gadkari will be taking stock of the progress made on projects of 100 crore, or more.

“Mission 300 comprises 150 projects from NHAI and the remaining from the road ministry. There are many highway projects with completion dates between March and April 2019. We are just trying to pre-pone them," said a senior government official, on the condition of anonymity. He added that the early completion will also help the centre achieve its 40km-per-day target.

Mission 300 includes the 11,000 crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Phase I of the 14-line Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which were recently inaugurated by Modi.

Gadkari has already added several feathers to his cap. He was instrumental behind India’s first asset monetisation project, wherein the NHAI managed to get an upfront payment of 9,681.5 crore from Sydney-based Macquarie Group to manage 648km of national highways. In yet another first, NHAI awarded 150 road projects, aggregating 7,400km, and worth 1.2 trillion in 2017-18 alone. He was also credited with India’s largest highway project, the 5 trillion Bharatmala, besides being the brain behind the revival of inland waterways.

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