Mumbai makeover tops BJP's agenda, Gadkari gets in fast lane
From a bus that will run on water and land, to a floatel and three helipads, Nitin Gadkari announced a series of projects, taking forward the Centre’s commitment to make Mumbai a showcase city for the country.Updated: Jan 01, 2015, 22:38 IST
From a bus that will run on water and land, a tunnel ring road to ease traffic, to a floatel and three helipads, Union minister Nitin Gadkari announced a series of projects, taking forward the Centre’s commitment to make Mumbai a showcase city for the country.
“The biggest problem in the city is traffic congestion. We need to solve this on priority,” said Gadkari, as he listed out the projects that his departments -- road and surface transport and shipping -- have planned in the past seven months.
He said the Centre is working with the state to see if the BEST and MSRTC buses can run on bio-diesel. “In Khopoli, there is a pump that provides bio-diesel. Both BEST and MSRTC spend Rs 18,000 crore annually. By using the biofuel, they could save Rs 10,000 crore. We will just have to make a one-time investment to upgrade our buses to biofuel or battery-operated system,” he said.
Elaborating on his pet project of freeing up the Mumbai port trust (MbPT) land, he said all data on lease properties has been collated. “We will now call for a representation from the city MLAs and MPs, along with the report given by the Rani Jadhav committee, after which we will take it forward,” he said.
He clarified that no part of the port land will be given to builders and 56% of port activities will continue.
The water transportation project for Mumbai, which was initiated during Gadkari’s tenure as the state PWD minister in the Sena-BJP government, has now been put on fast-track. “The first order for a water bus has been given by JNPT and it should reach Mumbai in three months. We will first conduct a trial, after which we will be able to use the bus across the city. The engines are imported. If successful, we will set up a plant to make such a bus in the state,” he said.
Gadkari said the government was in talks with companies in London that make catamarans and hovercrafts, and if there could be a ‘Make in India’ initiative to give a boost to all water transport projects including Mumbai.
He urged city ministers to initiate a project to clean up the Arabian Sea. “They need to take the initiative to clean the water by recycling the waste dumped and stop it from being released into the water. The Central government will extend whatever support is needed for it,” Gadkari said.