India's transport sector turning into world class infra: Nitin Gadkari

| Updated: Aug 10, 2017 00:59 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug 9 (ANI): NDA Government is actively working on various ambitious programmes like Bharatmala and Sagarmala which will change the whole narrative of India's transport sector and will make it a world class infrastructure, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday. "The government has made it a major priority to build a world class transport infrastructure in the country, that is cost effective, easily accessible to everyone, safe, creates minimum load of pollutants and relies on indigenous inputs to the maximum possible extent," Gadkari stated in an article written by him. He said that this has involved strengthening the available infrastructure by leveraging world class technology, building new infrastructure and modernizing the legislative framework to support this work. This has also involved partnering with the private sector and creating and nurturing an enabling environment for such partnership. Gadkari stated that the NDA Government is actively working to implement ambitious Bharatmala programme. Under Bharatmala programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA Government has planned to construct around 51,000km road with the total cost of Rs10 trillion-the largest ever outlay for a government road construction scheme. The Bharatmala project will start from Gujarat and Rajasthan, move to Punjab and then cover the entire string of Himalayan states - Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand - and then portions of borders of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alongside Terai, and move to West Bengal , Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and right up to the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur and Mizoram and will subsume all existing highway projects including the flagship National Highways Development Project (NHDP), launched by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998. In the first phase 29,000km will be developed with an outlay of Rs5.5 trillion. Special emphasis will be given on providing connectivity to far-flung rural areas including the tribal and backward areas. Talking about the Sagarmala Project, Gadkari stated that it is expected that besides saving Rs 35000-Rs 40,000 crore as logistics cost annually, boosting exports by about USD 110 billion and generating one crore new jobs, Sagarmala will also double the share of domestic waterways in the modal mix in the next ten years. He said, "The idea is to industrialize the port areas by developing 14 coastal economic zones. This would be supported by modernization and augmentation of the port infrastructure, improving connectivity of ports with the hinterland through road, rail and waterways, and development of the coastal community." Efforts are under way to exercise the navigational potential of India's 7500 km long coastline and over 14,000 km of inland waterways through the Sagarmala programme and by declaring 111 waterways as National Waterways for cheaper and greener water transportation. Transport Minister further stated, "In addition to the above, work is already in progress on several waterways including Ganga and Brahmaputra to develop their navigational potential. The World Bank aided Jal Marg Vikas project on Ganga aims to develop the river stretch from Haldia to Allahabad to allow navigation of 1500-2000 tonne ships. Work on building multi modal terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia and other necessary infrastructure on this stretch is progressing rapidly. With this, much of the cargo movement to the eastern and north eastern parts of the country can be done through waterways, resulting in lowering of the price of commodities. Thirty seven more waterways will be developed in the next three years." Union Minister Gadkari, in his article titled, 'India's Changing Transport Landscape' stated that the progress of a country is closely linked to the efficiency of good transport which aids at economic growth by providing essential connectivity between available resources, centers of production and the market. Gadkari further expressed, the government was working hard to enlarge this infrastructure both in terms of length and quality. Back in 2014, national highway was started with about 96,000 km and at the present it reaches to 2 lakh km. "The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha, and awaits passing by Rajya Sabha. The Bill addresses road safety issues by providing for stiffer penalties, making fitness certification of vehicles and issue of drivers' licenses transparent by computerizing it and minimizing human intervention, statutory provisions for protection of good Samaritans and recognition of IT enabled enforcement systems," he wrote. Gadkari assured that the highways and waterways are being modernized expeditiously and several works are underway for the development of these two sectors. (ANI)
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