The 118-km-long Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway was inaugurated on Sunday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking a symbolic walk on a small stretch of the highway at Hanakere in Mandya.
He later reached Gejjalagere, the venue of a public meeting, and unveiled a plaque dedicating to the nation the six-lane expressway, which reduces the travel time between Bengaluru and Mysuru from three hours to 75 minutes.
The access-controlled expressway between Bengaluru and Mysuru built at a cost of ₹8,480 crore encompasses a portion of National Highway 275 and comprises four rail overbridges, nine significant bridges, 40 minor bridges and 89 underpasses and overpasses, besides a two-lane service road running on either side of the six-lane highway.
The inauguration of the expressway and the laying of foundation stone for the ₹4,130 crore four-lane highway between Mysuru and Kushalnagar at the public meeting at Gejjalagere was preceded by a road show by Mr. Modi through the streets of Mandya.
The crowds that had gathered along the barricaded roads in Mandya waved at the Prime Minister.
Addressing the gathering at Gejjalagere, Mr. Modi emphasised the need for a ‘double engine’ government in Karnataka if the State were to make rapid progress.
He said infrastructure projects like highways will not only provide facilities for transport and connectivity, but also attract investment, generate employment and create sources of income. During the last few years, more than ₹ 1 lakh crore had been spent on infrastructure projects like construction of highways in Karnataka, he said.
The access-controlled highway between Bengaluru and Mysuru will more than halve the travel time between the two cities and bring about economic development in the region, Mr. Modi said while adding that the Mysuru-Kushalnagar highway will also improve connectivity and promote industrial development.
Mr. Modi said Karnataka was leading the country in attracting foreign investment and claimed that the ₹4 lakh investment the State had drawn after COVID-19 pandemic was on account of the efforts of the ‘double engine’ government.
Apart from Information Technology (IT), Karnataka was making rapid strides in the fields of biotechnology, defence and manufacturing. While attracting a lot of investment in the areas of defence, aerospace and space sector, Karnataka was achieving progress in the field of electric vehicle manufacturing, the Prime Minister said.
He also took a dig at the Congress and said its leaders were busy “digging Modi’s grave” at a time when the ‘double-engine’ government was working for the welfare of the people. “While Mr. Modi was building the expressway and making the lives of poor easy, the Congress was busy digging Modi’s grave”, he remarked.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, Minister for Excise K. Gopalaiah and Minister for Youth Empowerment and Sports K.C. Narayana Gowda, besides Sumalatha Ambareesh and Pratap Simha, MPs, were also present on the occasion.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi arrived in Mysuru by special aircraft and boarded a helicopter to Mandya, where he was received by Mr. Bommai. After the road show in Mandya and the symbolic walk on the highway at Hanakere, Mr. Modi visited an exhibition of the expressway project before proceeding to the public meeting.