Indian Minister for Road and Transport Nitin Gadkari has laid the foundation stone of 16 highway projects, with a total length of more than 500km, in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

HT Media reported that the highway projects will be built with an investment of approximately Rs75bn ($1bn).

The Minister for Road further added that the new road projects will not only create new employment opportunities in the region but would also facilitate new investments in the region.

Gadkari participated in the event through video conference from his office in New Delhi while the Uttar Pradesh state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led the event through a virtual function.

The Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the 16 projects include those in the Gorakhpur-Basti division worth Rs1.18bn ($150m).

Construction projects are already underway in the state.

Last month, Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stones to inaugurate seven national highway projects in the southern state of Kerala.

Approval has been given for seven projects with a total length of 177km for Rs115.71bn ($1.57bn). The works include building a bridge at Cheruthoni River.

The minister inaugurated the 27km-long Thiruvananthapuram Bypass from Kazhakuttom to Mukkola on NH-66 after the work was completed for Rs11.21bn ($152m).

The development of the transport infrastructure is being carried out under initiatives such as the Bharatmala Pariyojana, which is the largest infrastructure development programme in the country.

Under the initiative, 35,000km of national highways are under development across the country, 1,234km of which are being developed in the state of Kerala.