Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari offered for the Centre to take over the state's 43km sea link project to connect Versova and Virar and build it as part of the ongoing Rs 1 lakh crore Delhi-Mumbai Expressway project. Gadkari requested the state government to waive taxes on steel and cement, besides clearing land parcels for construction activity to go ahead.
Speaking in Mumbai at the 'New India, New Resolve Conference’ organized by CII, Gadkari said 70% work on the expressway has been completed. “It will reduce road travel time between India’s national and commercial capitals to 12 hours. It is my dream to establish seamless connectivity from Delhi to Mumbai through a (last-leg) coastal road and sea link network up to Vasai-Virar and beyond, with a project outlay of Rs 50,000 crore,” he said. Announcing other projects for Mumbai and Maharashtra, Gadkari said, “We are offering you this nectar (central backing for funding and projects) that will make you and your new government immortal. ”
Early last year, the now ousted Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government had made a bid to appoint international consultants for the Versova-Virar leg of the coastal road project. As per a pre-feasibility study, the sea-link was proposed to be built with connectors at Charkop, Uttan, Vasai and Virar. Along with the under-construction component of the coastal road (Marine Drive to Worli), the Bandra-Worli sea link, the proposed Bandra-Versova sea link and the Virar extension, the project promises to reduce road travel time between Nariman Point and Virar (almost 70 km apart) from three hours to one hour by car.
Announcing other projects, Gadkari said the Maharashtra government should plan new townships along new roads near Pune and Aurangabad by buying up land parcels as first investors and promoters. He said that along with deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, he was planning faster execution of the Nagpur-Hyderabad Expressway.