Coming out with the observation that the problems faced by the government as regards land acquisition linked to various central government projects are mainly responsible for delay in starting as well as completion of these projects, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that the state government should appoint some experienced retired people to handle the work of land acquisition.
Funds for land acquisition would be provided by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), he said.
“Presently, there is one retired person, who is in charge of the land acquisition process in the state, and he needs to be strengthened,” Gadkari stated, suggesting that this could be achieved by appointment of few experienced retired people. “There are a lot of constraints and grassroots realities linked to the construction of the new Zuari bridge and land acquisition is one of such problems,” he admitted, pointing out that the government is trying to complete the new Zuari bridge as early as possible.
Speaking further, the Union Minister for Transport and Highways said that the people are facing problem as well as the cost effectiveness of these projects is affected due to the delay in starting and completion of the projects. “The delays are also due to the time taken to obtain forest environment clearances and land acquisition,” he noted, lamenting that although he recently inaugurated Vasco-Panaji-Vasco ferry service, the Captain of Ports is still harping on the environment clearance for allowing the functioning of the newly constructed jetty.
Gadkari was addressing a gathering during the Topping Out ceremony of the third bridge on the River Mandovi, wherein the entire part of this cable-stayed bridge over the river was connected by pre-cast technology. Nearly 85 per cent work of the bridge is completed and the bridge is expected to be inaugurated by year end.
Stating that this is the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the country, Gadkari said that it was due to the request from Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar that he allowed the construction of the third bridge on the River Mandovi along the national highway. “Later, when Parrikar requested the Centre to help the state in the construction of this Rs 860 crore bridge, I overruled the contrary advice of my
ministry and decided to shoulder half the cost of this bridge,” he said.
Further revealing his plans, Gadkari, who also holds the Port portfolio in the Union government, said that all technical problems encountered for introducing the Goa-Mumbai-Goa cruise service have been solved, the trial of the vessel completed, and the service would begin after the end of monsoon. He also informed that a large cruise terminal is being constructed in Mumbai at the cost of Rs 1,000 crore, and estimated that within next five years around 950 cruises would travel from the Mumbai cruise terminal to Goa.
Gadkari invited representatives of the Goan tours and travel companies to a workshop to be organised by the central government in Mumbai in the near future. He further informed that a cruise on the Mumbai-Goa-Kochi-Andaman and Nicobar Islands/ Maldives route would be introduced soon that could also travel to Bali, and will be a major tourist attraction.
It was mentioned that the ongoing widening of the Mumbai-Goa highway would be completed and the project inaugurated by March 2019.
Replying to a question, Gadkari said that the apprehensions in the minds of the people from Salcete taluka as regards flooding of areas after completion of the Western Bypass have been cleared, and it has been ensured that no waterlogging will take place during monsoon.
Minister for Public Works Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar, Minister for Town and Country Planning Vijai Sardesai, Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte and South Goa Member of Parliament Narendra Sawaikar were also present.
Chairman of the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation Deepak Pauskar presented a memento to Gadkari, while GSIDC vice-chairman Sidharth Kunkalienkar welcomed the gathering.