Centre ready to take over Pune Ring Road project if state acquires land: Nitin Gadkari

The Minister for Road Transport and Highways said he will soon make it compulsory for manufacturers to provide vehicles with flex engines that run on more than one fuel.

Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said Friday that he was ready to take over Pune’s Ring Road Project if the state government, which is presently overseeing the project, agrees to it and takes the responsibility for land acquisition. Gadkari was in Pune on Friday to lay the foundation stone for two important flyover projects at Sinhagad Road and Pune-Satara Road. The events were also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

Gadkari said his ministry has undertaken ring road projects in Hyderabad and Bengaluru and if the Maharashtra government agrees, the Pune Ring Road project too can be taken over. “If the state government acquires the required land and hands it over to us, we will construct the Pune Ring Road. It’s an important project for the city. The rates of land along the proposed projects are very high and if Dada (Pawar) takes personal interest he can resolve the issues being faced by the project in land acquisition,” said Gadkari.

Speaking on the evils of pollution, Gadkari said his ministry will soon bring out a notification making it compulsory for all vehicle manufacturers to provide vehicles with flex engines that will run on more than one fuel. He said the move will also be cost-effective for vehicle users as biofuels such as ethanol were cheaper than petrol and diesel.

“One has to pay Rs 65 for a litre of ethanol while petrol costs Rs 110. I recently met the Science and Technology Minister from Brazil and a team of scientists from that country who are working on this issue. Promoting the use of ethanol will not only help reduce pollution but will also help farmers with extra income. TVS’s Venu Shrinivasan and Bajaj’s Rajiv Bajaj had recently met me. I told them that they should make engines that entirely work on ethanol,” Gadkari said.

On infrastructure projects currently underway in Pune, Gadkari said that it was a matter of satisfaction for him that three important projects in which he took a personal interest – Pune Metro, expansion of Lohegaon airport and Mula-Mutha river rejuvenation project – have taken off and are progressing fast.

The minister said that his ministry was also overseeing another important project that will greatly help Pune and Mumbai – the green highway being constructed to connect cities in north India with destinations in the south.

“This highway will not enter Pune or Mumbai, and will connect north India with south India via Surat-Nashik-Ahmednagar-Solapur-Akkalgot-Gulbarga-Kurnool. It will have a total length of 1,270 km of which 500 km will pass through Maharashtra. We are spending Rs 40,000 crore on this project and, once completed, it will cut a lot of traffic and pollution in Pune and Mumbai,” he said.

Gadkari also mentioned that the ministry can take up construction of flyovers in Pune City if local authorities provide the land.

Deputy CM Pawar praised Gadkari for being the ambassador of Maharashtra in Delhi. “Like Yashwantrao Chavan several decades ago and Sharad Pawar a few years back, now Nitin Gadkari saheb is providing special attention to Maharashtra. MPs, MLAs from across political parties approach him whenever they need any help from the Union government,” said Pawar. Both events were also attended by Pune MP Girish Bapat, Baramati MP Supriya Sule, Kothrud MLA and BJP state chief Chandrakant Patil and Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol among others.

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