Hyderabad: The Centre has sanctioned Rs 8,000 crore for the expansion of 460 km of national highways passing through Telangana, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said here on Saturday.
Inaugurating the 77th Indian Roads Congress (IRC) at HITEX here, Gadkari said that a detailed project report would soon be prepared and that works on these 460 km, divided into five projects, would commence soon.
Citing the acute water shortage in States like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka among others, Gadkari said that lots of precious water could be saved if construction of bridges over the State and national highways is planned properly.
Stressing on an integrated approach to development, he asked States to explore the possibilities of constructing bund-cum-bridges, adding that the Centre would bear the expenses of such bridges.
The country now has 52 lakh km of roads, of which 90,000 km are State highways. This is being extended to 2 lakh km since automobile sector is growing by 22 per cent.
Pointing out that nearly 5 lakh accidents are reported every year, Gadkari called upon engineers and other stakeholders to focus on reducing accidents across the country.
The Union Minister, pointing out that 75 per cent of metro works in Nagpur are run by solar power, asked engineers to explore options for solar lights on highways.
The government is also focusing on green highways, he said, stating that 1 per cent of the total cost of production would be spent on plantation and beautification.
The process of converting 111 rivers in the country into inland waterways is on, with works in Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh to begin shortly.
The Centre is also exploring beautification of surroundings on the Mumbai-Goa National Highway along the seacoast on the lines of the road linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in the US, apart from promoting road-side amenities.
T Nageswara Rao, Minister for Roads and Buildings, said that out of 31 districts in Telangana, 26 districts have national highway connectivity. However, five district headquarters were connected to national highways, he said, requesting for conversion of more State highways into national highways.