Tunnel road project has gained momentum: Oscar

December 2, 2013


MANGALORE: The much vaunted tunnel roadway through Shirady Ghat connecting the coastal city with Bangalore has gained momentum, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highway Oscar Fernandes said on Saturday.The six-day visit of Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to India that got under way on November 30 and the scheduled state visit of Prime Minister of Japan in January for the Republic Day celebrations will further boost this project, Oscar said.In an informal chat with reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural of the 27th statutory conference of All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organization on Saturday, Oscar said the Indo-Japanese summit coinciding with the Japanese Emperor’s visit will give fillip to this project.

Indicating that the tunnel project through Shirady Ghat will be executed with assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency, Oscar said the state chief secretary and the PWD minister called on him in New Delhi recently and held extensive discussions in this regard. “We, at the ministry, have mooted the idea that a separate corporation be set up to execute the project,” Oscar said, adding that a final shape to it could be expected soon.

The idea of road tunnel through Shirady Ghat straddling the ecologically sensitive Western Ghat was first mooted at Global Investors Meet held under the stewardship of then CM D V Sadananda Gowda. The project was mooted as the current state of the National Highway through Shirady Ghat measuring nearly 40-km is in an unmotorable situation and breakdown on heavy vehicles on the treacherous hairpin curves lead to traffic jams.

More funds for state

With regard to unanimous demand made in the ongoing session of the state assembly in Belgaum that Karnataka needs to cash in on his presence in the ministry and obtain maximum funds for road development for the state, Oscar said, “I have placed myself at the disposal of the CM.”

“I am doing for Karnataka more than already mentioned. But this does not mean I will do something less for the other states,” he said.

Admitting that he has special feelings for the state as he hails from Karnataka, Oscar said, “We have allocated Rs 1,000 crore to Karnataka under Central Road Fund and the same will be reimbursed based on its utilization.”

He said various road schemes under CRF in Karnataka are in different stages of completion. These include Tumkur road that will be inaugurated by end of December, Hassan-Bangalore road shortly, and Kolar road in a week’s time.

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