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Belgaum section of Golden Quadrilateral dedicated to nation

Staff Correspondent

CHIKALGUD (BELGAUM DT.): The Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, T.R. Baalu, on Saturday dedicated to the nation the Belgaum-Maharashtra border section of National Highway 4 of the Golden Quadrilateral.

Responding to requests by the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, and the Public Works Minister, H.D. Revanna, at a function organised here to mark the event, Mr. Baalu said work on the Belgaum-Goa National Highway 4A at an estimated cost of Rs. 250 crores and the Hubli-Dharwad ring road at a cost of Rs. 60 crores would be taken up shortly. The work on Bangalore-Devanahalli Road would be taken up at the earliest. Mr. Baalu said he would ensure Cabinet approval for a four-lane road between Chitradurga and Hospet soon. He would place a proposal before the Union Cabinet to convert a 400-km stretch on National Highway 13 from Bijapur to Chitradurga into a four-lane. Another proposal to convert the two-lane State Highway from Jewargi to Hiriyur into a four-lane express highway would be taken up at an appropriate time.

Lauding the contractors for expediting the work under the ambitious Golden Quadrilateral, Mr. Baalu, who also held the same portfolio in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government, said the pace of work on the project was four times faster under the United Progressive Alliance Government, headed by Manmohan Singh. He thanked the Karnataka Government for its cooperation in settling matters pertaining to land acquisition for the project. Describing the project as an example of success in public-private partnership venture, Mr. Baalu congratulated the contractors and the NHAI for completing the work on the Jaipur-Kishangarh section in Rajasthan — dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister a fortnight ago — the 93-km Tambaram-Tindivanam section in Tamil Nadu and the Belgaum-Maharashtra border project five months ahead of the schedule.

Later, addressing presspersons, he said at least 92 per cent of the projects under Golden Quadrilateral would be completed by December-end. Karnataka's share in Golden Quadrilateral accounts for 625 km, besides 92 km in the North-South Corridor and another 38 km of Mangalore Port Connectivity under the National Highway Development Project. Work on the North-South Corridor will be completed by December 2007. He said that his Ministry had accorded in principle approval for two projects estimated to cost Rs. 35.56 crores under the Inter-State connectivity scheme and another project at a cost of Rs. 25.83 crores under the Economic Importance Scheme of the State. The Ministry has allocated Rs. 75 crores under National Highways (Original) and Rs. 33.50 crores for maintenance and repair for 2005-06. Another Rs. 404 crores has been sanctioned for works under the Central Road Fund covering 5,182 km in the State.

Mr. Dharam Singh urged Mr. Baalu to give priority to proposals on road-infrastructure development in the State. Justice should be done to north Karnataka while submitting a list of fresh proposals to convert 1,360 km of State highways into four-lane highways — Jewargi-Bellary Road covering 248 km, 82 km of Hebsur-Ramnagar Road, 487 km of Bantwal-Mulbagal Road, 52 km of Mysore-Malvalli Road, and 130 km of Bagalkot-Kuknur Road.

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