With Mr. Nitin Gadkariji assuming the charge of Transport Ministry in 2014, the hopes of fast paced development in roads and highway sectors were raised considerably. On 25th December 2015 at a public meeting in Aurangabad, Gadkriji announced a road works package for the Marathwada region worth several thousand crores. It was a dream come true for most, people celebrated, expectations were raised and people waited with bated breath, in anticipation.
The projects announced included, widening and relaying of crucial highways which pass through Aurangabad city namely Jalna road and Beed Bypass. These may be part of national highway network but over the years have become arterial roads of Aurangabad city. The need for investment in these city roads were felt for long, but were ignored by previous dispensation.
It was thanks to Gadkriji, who took the initiative and announced a package for road development. The package was way above the expectations of common citizens of Aurangabad. It was beyond anyone’s imagination that Government of India could shower the backward region of Marathwada with infra projects worth thousands of crores. At last, the road infrastructure of Aurangabad was being done in a manner that was befitting its status as the Tourism Capital of Maharashtra. We all felt grateful to Gadkriji for announcing the package.
The crucial road works included
1 Relaying and renovation of Jalna road with provision for bus transport system and service lanes.
2 Relaying and renovation of Beed Bypass with service lanes.
3 Construction of flyovers, underpass and pedestrian bridges at suitable places on the above mentioned highways.
4 Converting Paithan road into National Highway and 4/6 laning it.
5 A New highway connecting Shendra with Bidkin and Waluj (Bharatmala scheme).
6 Other highway works announced included Aurangabad – Ajanta – Jalgaon, Aurangabad – Nashik, Aurangabad – Shirdi etc. Gadkariji, at a later date, has hinted about Aurangabad – Pune Expressway as well.
The above list is indicative and not exhaustive; many more road projects were announced by the National Highway Authority of India concurrently.
The present status: One and half years have passed since the announcement, and most of the projects have not moved beyond DPR stage. Contracts for new works are yet to be awarded and projects yet to take off. The wait has been agonizing to say the least. Like with any other project announced for Marathwada, things are moving at snail’s pace. It seems, the projects have fallen victim to red tapism and bureaucratic squabbling.
We therefore request the Hon’ble Minister Shri Nitin Gadkriji to look into the matter and rescue Aurangabadkars from the daily pain and suffering which he/she undergoes while commuting on these roads. Gadkriji can be a Messiah for the region’s development if he gets the road infrastructure right. Hope, on his upcoming visit to the city, he sets into motion the process, which will culminate into commencement of work on most of the projects announced so far. Hurdles, if any, should be sorted out immediately and bureaucrats instructed to clear projects rapidly.
Obstructionist attitude at local level should be dealt with firmly and officers be given a free hand to get the work started at ground level. Hope the upcoming visit of Gadkriji to Aurangabad provides the required flip to road works and sets in motion the process, which can bring the road infrastructure of Marathwada at par, if not surpass the best in the world.