Observing that Bihar’s road network has seen tremendous improvement in the last few years, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday asserted that the road infrastructure of the state will be at par with that of the United States by December 2024. The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways inaugurated the eastern flank of the reconstructed Mahatma Gandhi Setu over River Ganga in Hajipur. He launched and laid the foundation stone of national highway projects worth Rs 13,585 crores in the state.

“Roads are linked to the prosperity of a state and a country. There is no doubt that Bihar’s road network has seen tremendous improvement in the last few years and I am sure it will improve further. I can say this with confidence that the state’s road infrastructure will be at par with that of the US by 2024,” Gadkari said.

He quoted former US president John F Kennedy who had said, “American roads are not good because America is rich. America is rich because American roads are good”.

“Several mega projects related to Bihar will be completed soon, and the ministry is also in the process of finalising DPRs (detailed project reports) of some projects such as Buddhist, Jain and Ram Janaki-Ayodhya circuits,” he said.

Gadkari also appealed to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to set up industrial clusters and smart cities along the expressways in the state.

The 5,750-metres-long Mahatma Gandhi Setu was inaugurated in 1982 by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi as the country’s longest river bridge. It underwent repairs from 1999 to 2016, when the Centre approved its reconstruction plan.

Gadkari had on July 31, 2020 flagged off traffic on the western flank of the reconstructed bridge – the lifeline between North and South Bihar.

The entire MG Setu reconstruction project was executed at a cost of Rs 1,742 crore.

He also laid the foundation stone for 10 other projects, including the four-lane greenfield 124-km Munger-Bhagalpur-Mirza Chowki highway and the six-lane 70-km Aurangabad-Chordaha highway during the day.

Addressing the gathering, the chief minister said, “The Bihar government has already fast-tracked the ongoing construction of all mega road, bridge and highway projects and officials have been instructed to ensure completion within the specified time frame. The state administration is also very specific about maintenance of roads, bridges and highways.”

“We are thankful to Gadkari Ji for sanctioning several mega road, bridge and highway projects in Bihar, and also for completing several major projects,” he added.

Gadkari landed at Patna airport around 11.30 am and met Kumar at his official residence, and then went to Hajipur for the event.

Several Union ministers including

Singh, Ashwani Choubey, Pashupati Kumar Paras and Nityanand Rai were present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, RJD expressed disappointment over the state administration not inviting Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav to the event.

“It’s unethical…the state government must invite LoP to such events,” RJD state spokesperson Chittaranjan Gagan said. s

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