Govt declares Golden Quadrilateral complete

The government has completed the Golden Quadrilateral highways project, which connects Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, roads minister C P Joshi said on Friday.

The initiative, which covers 5,846 km between the four metropolises, had been delayed by legal and engineering hurdles after its start in 2000. It is part of the first phase of the government's National Highways Development Programme (NHDP).

"I am pleased to announce that the Golden Quadrilateral is now complete and four-fifths of the North South East West Corridor is four-laned while the rest is under implementation," Joshi said at the Eleventh Auto Expo being held here.

Joshi said work on the third, fourth and fifth phases of the NHDP had progressed while the government had started work on the sixth and final phase. Nearly Rs 55,000 crore has been invested in national highways since April.

He said: "The projects will see the construction of 7,300 km of roads including the building of new expressways in addition to expanding existing roads ... 15 highway construction projects totaling over $3 billion have been recently approved and bids for several more have already been invited."

The roads ministry has also approved a National Roads Safety Policy, which seeks to build a database on traffic and strengthen enforcement of rules.

"The policy lays stress on road safety issues, establishment of an information database, strengthening of training and issue of driving license systems and better enforcement of related laws," Joshi said. The government started building a database of driving licences in July 2010.

The NHDP, which would stretch 66,590 km at a cost of Rs 2.2 lakh crore, is planned to connect cities and rural areas across the country. The government has favoured implementing the plan through public-private partnerships to increase the speed at which the roads are built.

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