The mega Polavaram irrigation project on the Godavari, often described as the lifeline of Andhra Pradesh, will be completed before the next General Election in 2019 and the Union Government will render all necessary assistance to the State Government for the purpose.

The Union Minister for Water Resources, Waterways, Highways, Shipping and Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, said this on Tuesday at the Indira Gandhi municipal stadium.

The Minister laid the foundation stones for several national highway projects in the State and inaugurated several others, along with Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Seven NH projects were dedicated to the nation and foundation stones were laid for six NH projects in the State, the total cost of all the projects being Rs 4,153 crore.

Foundation stone for the development of National Waterway Four (Kakinada-Puducherry) was also laid by the minister. In the first phase of the project, the stretch between Muktayala to Vijayawada will be developed. The total project cost is Rs 7,015 crore and the length of the waterway 315 km.

Nitin Gadkari said it would be difficult to complete the Polavaram project before the next General Election, but no effort would be spared and the target would be achieved. "I will do my level best to complete the Polavaram project on time. That is my assurance to you," he said.

He said the Union Goverment would spend more than Rs 1 lakh crore on improving the national highways in Andhra Pradesh and it would give a tremendous boost to the development of the State.

He said under Sagaramala several port-related projects would be taken up in the State. The capacity of the Visakhapatnam port would be expanded.

He said the Visakhapatnam-Chennai industrial corridor was another major project which would benefit the State enormously and it would be taken up expeditiously.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister thanked the Union Minister profusely and said he was confident that Polavaram project would be completed on time, with the Centre's assistance.

Venkaiah Naidu expressed his happiness over the launch of so many projects on a single day in the State. He said linking of rivers was of utmost importance.

State Governor E.S.L Narasimhan also spoke.