The Centre will also ask the Uttar Pradesh government to sign agreements under which the state would help acquire land to facilitate central road projects, sources said. (Agencies)
Gadkari, who undertook a state-wise review of the national highways projects, analysed targets and achievements of these projects and underscored the need for effective black spot (death traps) management to ensure road safety, an official release said.
The Minister voiced "his serious concern over the tardy progress in completion of National Highways in different parts of the country and called for urgent measures to overcome prolonged delays which were causing immense hardships to the people", it added.
Meanwhile, sources said the Centre would soon ask UP government to resolve issues relating to highways development and ink pacts under 'Umbrella State Support Agreement (USSA)' under which the state is supposed to help acquire land to facilitate central road projects.
The development comes in the wake of a review meeting of highways projects here in which Gadkari was briefed by officials that UP government was raising issues of "conflict of interest" and was reluctant on signing USSA for projects.
"The issue of not readily signing the state support agreements by Uttar Pradesh and also problems in land acquisition came up during the review meeting. Gadkari said he will write a letter to the UP Chief Minister on all such related issues requesting him to resolve them," a source said.
UP has already registered its protests against creation of a parallel network of national highways that would impact UP's toll collections and is reluctant to sign pacts. The issue was earlier raised before the Planning Commission as well.
Meanwhile, the national highways in the disaster-hit Uttarakhand came in for a special review and the Minister "expressed his displeasure over the progress in restoring and repairing roads in these vital border areas which also connect pilgrimage centres in the hill region," the release added.
Gadkari ordered a performance audit of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) which is responsible for building and maintaining strategic roads in this area. He suggested a special session to review the projects being handled by BRO.
Also, he called for regular monitoring of the progress in all prominent highway projects including Delhi-Jaipur, Delhi-Dehradun, Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Punjab, and highways in Uttar Pradesh, J&K, Haryana, Himachal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, the release said.
"The Minister took to task some of the concessionaires managing highway projects in some states and warned them that they would not be allowed to charge toll unless the highways were fully operational. The contractors failing to meet deadlines may face serious consequences he warned," the release said.
Gadkari was briefed about the bottlenecks in the way of speedy completion of the highways which included problems relating to land acquisition, environmental and forest department clearances and cash crunch facing the contractors, it said.
He assured all possible assistance to the concerned agencies and hoped the state governments too will co-operate.
The meeting Chaired by Gadkari was attended by the Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping Krishan Pal Gujjar, Secretary Vijay Chhibber, other senior ministry officials, among others.
Meanwhile, as per a Road Ministry official the problem of delay in cutting trees on the forest lands also arose during the meeting and Gadkari "asked that a new system of uprooting the trees with a huge machine using the latest technologies to re-plant them again should be adopted as suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
Gadkari in the meeting said such a system was also adopted in Gujarat earlier.
The Centre will also ask the Uttar Pradesh government to sign agreements under which the state would help acquire land to facilitate central road projects, sources said.