Lucknow: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid foundation stones of 80 road projects worth over Rs 1,10,154 crore in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
Speaking on the occasion, Home Minister Singh, who represents Lucknow in Lok Sabha, said, "On this historic day, Lucknow has become 'Luck-Now' for the entire Uttar Pradesh. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had wanted Lucknow to become a world-class city and whatever is being done today is an effort to fulfil the dreams of Atalji." Showering praises on Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Singh said, "Nitin Gadkari is a person who can extract oil from water and get work done without funds." Singh's statement drew loud applause from the audience. "Atalji had once said that he does not want to compare Lucknow with any city in the world. He wanted that Lucknow should become an incredible (atulya) city, a khushaal (prosperous) city and a bemisaal (unparallel) city. Today, Atalji is not among us, but I want to make his soul believe that the people of Lucknow will fulfil your dreams, Atalji. This will be appropriate tributes to you from our side," Singh said. The Lucknow MP also said that he had spent his MPLAD fund (Rs 25 crore) for development of the constituency. On this occasion, Singh urged Gadkari to introduce seaplane in Gomtinagar here and a flying bus as well, to which Gadkari gave his nod. Speaking on this occasion, Gadkari took a jibe at the previous government, and said, "There were problems in land acquisition during the previous regime. It was unclear whether potholes existed on the roads or vice-versa." He also congratulated the UP government for the successful Kumbh Mela, which recently conclude in Allahabad. "Inaugurating a project, whose foundation stone has been laid by you, gives immense satisfaction. I assure you that people will not be duped. Ethics, ecology and environment are important, and 48 per cent of population live in the Ganga basin. It should be made a growth engine," Gadkari said and added that the credit for inaugurating several projects across the country goes to the "voters who had elected the BJP in 2014". He also said that the length of national highways in UP have doubled since the BJP dispensation assumed office at the Centre. He said waterways would soon have river traffic control system on the lines of air traffic control, and soon the sugar of UP would reach Bangladesh through waterways. Explaining the cost benefit of using waterways, Gadkari said, "If transportation cost in using road is Rs 10, it is Rs 6 in case of railways and it is Re 1 in case of waterways." The Union minister said that 30 per cent work on cleaning Ganga has been done, and there has been an increase in BOD and COD levels.