On Thursday, September 16, 2021, while interacting with the media in Dausa, Rajasthan, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari was heard delivering a witty response to a journalist who urged that all NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) toll taxes be waived for media persons.
Mai fokat class ka samarthan nahi karta: Nitin Gadkari
“Tumko bilkul nahi milega. Main yeh fokat class ka samarthan nahi karta. Jisko achhe road par jana hain usko paisa dena padega. Swatantrata sangram senani, divyang, patrakar phir mahila. Ye dhandha bilkul bandh hain, aapko toll dena padega,” (You will not get it at any cost. I do not endorse the ‘fokat class’. It is necessary to pay the toll in order to travel on a good road. Be it freedom fighters, individuals with disabilities, journalists, or women. This sort of activity is not tolerated. You must pay toll), the minister quipped, making it clear that he does not endorse those who seek things for free. This practice should be stopped, advised the union minister.
The full video of the program and media interaction can be watched here.
The minister was addressing the press in Dausa, Rajasthan on Thursday after he reviewed the progress of a section of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway (DME) covering Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The Union Minister has been conducting a two-day aerial survey of the 1380-km eight-lane Delhi-Mumbai expressway. During the survey, the minister made a halt and interacted with the media in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, Dausa in Rajasthan and Sohna in Gurgaon, Haryana.
दिल्ली-मुंबई एक्सप्रेस-वे के दो दिवसीय निरीक्षण कार्यक्रम के अपने दूसरे पड़ाव में राजस्थान के दौसा में कार्य के प्रगति का निरीक्षण किया। #PragatiKaHighway #DelhiMumbaiExpressway pic.twitter.com/iD0qReIG2I— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) September 16, 2021
374 km of road in Rajasthan would be built under this expressway at a cost of 16,600 crores. The entire project has been approved. The state’s districts of Alwar, Bharatpur, Dausa, Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Bundi, and Kota will benefit from this highway, informed the union minister in his Tweet dated September 16.
राजस्थान में 16,600 करोड़ की लागत से इस एक्सप्रेस-वे के अंतर्गत 374 किमी रोड का निर्माण होना है जिसका पूरा कार्य अवार्ड हो चुका है। राज्य में यह एक्सप्रेस-वे अलवर, भरतपुर, दौसा, सवाई माधोपुर, टोंक, बूंदी और कोटा जिलों में विकास को मज़बूती देगा। #DelhiMumbaiExpressway pic.twitter.com/tYxhMBVr2W— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) September 16, 2021
I demolished my father-in-laws’ house without telling my wife to make a road: Nitin Gadkari
During media interaction, the minister, sharing his personal life experience, opined that politicians should not block development efforts.
Gadkari shared how he had once demolished his father-in-law’s house without telling his wife. “Many years ago, my father-in-law’s house was demolished to make a road. I did not tell my wife before the demolition. That’s how it should be. Leaders should not be impediments in progress,” said Gadkari.
Addressing media in Sohna, Gadkari said, “Delhi-Katra expressway will be launched in two years, to reduce the distance from 727 to 572 kilometres, you will reach Katra from Delhi in six hours. We are also working on new roads from Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Dehradun and Delhi-Haridwar, to take you there in two hours.”
Gadkari described the expressway as a matter of pride, saying it will connect Delhi’s urban centres through the Delhi-Faridabad-Sohna part of the corridor with a spur to Jewar Airport and Jawaharlal Nehru Port to Mumbai through a spur in Mumbai.
“The expressway will have wayside amenities such as resorts, restaurants, food courts, fuel stations, facilities for truckers, logistics parks, at six points in Haryana. We have also envisaged a helicopter ambulance service for accident victims and there will be a heliport, which will use drone services for business as well. I also want to build electric highways along the expressway,” said Gadkari.
Delhi-Mumbai Expressway to be ready by 2023
The highway, which cost Rs 98,000 crore to develop, is expected to be completed in March 2023. Depending on future traffic volumes, the eight-lane access-controlled expressway could be expanded to a 12-lane expressway.
By March 2022, the first stretch from Delhi to Jaipur (Dausa)-Lalsot and Vadodara to Ankleshwar should be open to traffic.
Gadkari emphasised the importance of roads in a country by quoting former US President John F Kennedy, who said, “American roads are not good because America is rich, but America is rich because American roads are good”, Kennedy said this. I have this saying written in my office. Roads lead to prosperity and development, stressed the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.