Gati Shakti: Nitin Gadkari meets leaders from States

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari. File

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari. File

At a meeting of Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari with southern States, Telangana Minister K.T. Rama Rao took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan “ Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas ” and accused the Centre of overlooking Telangana.

Mr. Gadkari was chairing the inaugural session of a conference on PM Gati Shakti — a digital platform for integrated planning and implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects across the country. It was attended by Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai, Lt. Governor of Puducherry Tamilisai Soundarajan, Chief Minister of Puducherry N. Rangasamy, Minister for Industries, Commerce and IT in Andhra Pradesh Mekapati Goutham Reddy, Kerala Minister P.A. Mohamad Riyas and Telangana’s K.T. Rama Rao.

Support in Budget

“The PM often says Team India, Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas . But Telangana is also a part of India. We are the fourth largest contributor to the country’s economy, but we are being overlooked, be it Railways, defence industrial corridor, Expressways... Our appeal is for more support. We also hope for relief and support in the upcoming Budget,” Mr. Rao said making an impassioned appeal in Hindi, the only speaker to speak in the language.

“Hyderabad is a popular destination for defence. We have DRDO, DRDL, DMRL, RCI. On the other hand, there is Bengaluru which has HAL and other labs. A very logical defence corridor would have been between Bengaluru and Hyderabad. But, unfortunately, when we demanded a Defence Industrial Production Corridor for Hyderabad, it was given to Bundelkhand where there is nothing,” said Mr. Rao.

He also sought an improved rail network, especially more frequency to various ports such as Krishnapatnam.

Improved connectivity

Puducherry’s Chief Minister said that expansion work at the UT’s airport was an emergency need.

“The present runway length is 1,200 metres, and an additional 1,800 metres is required. Assistance in land acquisition process is an emergency need for the UT. Karaikal is a pilgrimage town and devotees come here not just from all over the country, but from around the world. But no airport facility is available,” Mr. Rangasamy said. He also sought heliports and aid in setting up ferry services. Improved rail connectivity between Puducherry and neighbouring districts as well as a rail link with Chennai were his other demands.

“Connectivity from Chennai, Madhavaram and Puducherry is only through road. It is an important thoroughfare for industrial purposes. Development of a rail connectivity to this industrial corridor will be beneficial for the logistics growth of Puducherry,” the Chief Minister said.

Karanakta Chief Minister said there was a need for a legal intervention to avoid delays in irrigation projects in the State The Chief Minister also said that different States had different rules for coastal regulation zones and there was a need to have a common set of rules.

Mr. Gadkari sought to address Mr. Rao’s concerns and said that the government’s policy was to ensure development of all parts of the country, particularly of backward areas.

He emphasised that the Prime Minister Gati Shakti programme would ensure that States were able to attract industries and investment and generate employment.

While Tamil Nadu was absent from the inaugural session, a State government official said on the condition of anonymity that it was well represented at the the full-day conference.

(With inputs from Dennis S. Jesudasan in Chennai)

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 8:58:50 am |