In a bid to decongest traffic in the country, the government has decided to increase the length of national highways from 96,000 km, at present, to two lakh km, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today. “At present, we have 96,000 km national highways or 52 lakh road length in the country. As much as 40 percent of the traffic moves on these 2 percent national highways and as a result five lakh accidents take place,” the Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping told reporters here. Gadkari said, “Three lakh people get injured and 1.5 lakh are killed in these accidents. The main reason is traffic congestion. Therefore, to save lives of people and diversify traffic, our government has decided to extend national highways from 96,000 km to two lakh km. Nearly 70 percent to 80 percent traffic of the country move on this.” He said that a formula based on vehicular traffic has been worked out according to which four-lane, six-lane an express highway would be constructed. The minister said in Uttar Pradesh total length of national highways was 8,483 km of which 4,500 km was with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and 3,134 km was with state Public Works Department. “I am happy to tell that in the next two months we have decided to expand this 8,483 km to 17,000 km which is double. Few proposals have been submitted by the state government and others by MPs and MLAs,” he said. He said that two new highways would be developed in UP. “First is east-west highway on which we are going to spend Rs 1,400 crore. This will reduce Delhi’s traffic by 50 percent The second one is from Delhi to Dasna, which would be 14 lane, a first time in the country,” he said. He said that earlier travel time between Delhi and Meerut, whih took 2.30 hours to 3 hours would now take only 40 minutes. Work on a ring-road in Lucknow at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore has begun and the detailed project report would be ready in two to three months. Lucknow-Kanpur access control highway has also been planned, which would reduce travel time to 40 minutes. He said that 10 projects were likely to be awarded in next three months with a project cost of Rs 4,000 crore. Gadkari said that 10 rail over bridges were being taken up under Setu Bharatam. He said that initially some projects were stalled due to different reasons, but 95 percent problems have been sorted out at work has started. “Suppose, if we travel by water it costs 15-20 paisa, by rail Re 1 and by road rupees 1.5, therefore its cost-effective. We are spending Rs 3,000 crore on Ganga and will promote tourism,” he said. He said that goods could directly be exported to Bangladesh and Myanmar. It would be useful in development of Uttar Pradesh, he added.