Nagpur, Aug 30 : One of the worst-hit Maoist regions in the country, Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra is set to be transformed with five critical infrastructure projects and enhance connectivity with adjoining Chhattisgarh and Telangana states.
Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari set the ball rolling by inaugurating the projects via videolink along with Minister of State Gen. (Retd). V. K. Singh, State Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan and Gadchiroli-Chimur MP Ashok Nete, on Sunday.
They include: a 855-metre major bridge across River Pranahita at a cost of Rs 168 crore and a 630-metre high-level bridge on River Indravati near Patagudam costing Rs 248 crore, both on Nizamabad-Jagdalpur Road (NH-63).
Besides, another 30-metre high-level bridge will come up near Lankachen on Bejurpalli-Aheri Road, the improvement of the same road (SF-275) between Watra-Moyabinpeta and the Garanji-Pustola Road.
"The all-weather road network in the remote Naxal-affected districts like Gadchiroli will improve the socio-economic development in the region. In the next two years or so, Gadchiroli will see allround transformation," Gadchiroli promised.
Gen. Singh added that the completion of these developmental road projects n the area would go a ong way in "mainstreaming of people living in the Left Wing extremism areas".
"With more such infra-projects coming up in these areas, the extremism is coming down gradually," Gen. Singh pointed out.
Chavan said these projects would spur industrial development, job creation and uplift the people of the area besides maintaining law and order.
Complimenting the engineers for their feat despite the Maoists threats, Gadkari said that the bridge on River Indravati was completed under 'trying and war-like conditions' and a police station had to be set up there to help build the bridge.
Besides, he laid the foundation stones for four important bridges on the Perimilli, Bandiya, Pearikota and Wainganga rivers in the green district, as the existing bridges are narrow and often get submerged during monsoon.
The 825-metre long bridge on River Wainganga will improve connectivity between Gadchiroli-Chandrapur, and the minister promised to accord approval for the 35-km road project between Alapalli-Bhamragad this year and the remaining 65 km in the next fiscal.
Gadkari also sought the Maharashtra government's green signal to connect Desaiganj-Brahmapuri with Nagpur under the Broad Gauge Metro project which can slash the travel time from present 150 minutes to barely half.
Gadkari said that the total length of NH project in Gadchiroli has increased from 54 km to 674 km during his tenure and his ministry has approved 44 road projects of 541 km with an outlay of Rs 1,740 crore.