The journey to Araku Valley is about to get a whole lot more comfortable as well as eco-friendly. The Centre has decided to develop parts of the Rajahmundry to Vizianagaram National Highway-516E in the Araku Valley as “Green Highways”. The announcement was made by the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. This development will be done as part of the Green National Highways Corridor Project (GNHCP) which has been undertaken with a backing of $500 million from the World Bank. The project was approved by the Indian Government in March 2020.
The National Highway-516E is a branch road of the National Highway 16 which has its two ends at Rajahmundry and Vizianagaram. The highway takes its route through the Eastern Ghats, with tourist places like Lambasingi, Paderu and Araku falling on the way. Six stretches of this highway are to be developed as Green Highways of their own – Koyyuru to Chaprathipalem (45 km), Chaprathipalem to Lambasingi (40 km), Lambasingi to Paderu (48 km), Paderu to Gondiguda (25 km), Gondiguda to Araku (24 km) and Bowdara to Vizianagaram (27 km). As per the Transport Minister’s statement, about Rs. 1,668 crore have been sanctioned to develop these six stretches as Green Highways.
A Green Highway is a road constructed by using greener, environment-friendly technologies and materials like industrial waste products, which reduce the resultant carbon footprint. As the traffic grows on Indian roads, it becomes necessary to take much more environmentally friendly steps, like the Green Highways project, especially in the forest areas.
The Union Transport Minister’s announcement was in response to questions posed by some YSRCP MPs. Earlier, Rajya Sabha MP V Vijayasai Reddy, and a few other MPs, had paid a visit to the Union Transport Minister, asking him to turn certain state highways in the Visakhapatnam District into national highways.
The news is a welcomed one as the trip to the Araku Valley is about to become easier for tourists and locals alike.