News Roads

Min, Infra News, ET Infra

MUMBAI: The first lane of the Mumbai-Goa highway will be completed by May and the government will also try to complete the entire highway within the next nine months, public works minister Ravindra Chavan told the state assembly on Tuesday.

“The work on the national highway is done by the Central government. The state government only takes care of maintenance. Still, we will ensure that we do our best for the completion of the project in the next nine months,” said Chavan. “We will deploy drones so one can see the progress of the highway.”

Work on the highway has been on for more than a decade. “How has the Samruddhi Mahamarg, which is much longer, been completed in four years while the Mumbai-Goa highway has been pending for more than 10 years?” asked BJP MLA Ameet Satam.

Chavan told the assembly that the highway had faced several challenges and land acquisition in the Raigad region had not yet been completed. He said that in Ratnagiri, soft sand at Parshuram ghat caused landslides during drilling. He said the contractor who was in charge of 84km of the highway was later blacklisted. “Union minister Nitin Gadkari came up with a solution. The old contractor will construct 32km and a new contractor will construct 32km,” he said.

A PWD engineer said that out of the 355km Indapur to Zarap stretch of the highway, 250km is ready while a 105km stretch towards south Konkan will be completed in nine to 10 months. “It is an achievable target,” he said. The initial Palaspe (towards Panvel) to Indapur stretch of 84km is under NHAI and is in various stages of construction.

But activists say not a single 50km stretch of the work parcel is complete, and given the slow pace of work, it may take at least three years to finish. “Funds allocated for the ongoing project stand exhausted. The administration seems to be losing interest in the project,” said Konkan activist S M Deshmukh.

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