Gadkari aims to focus on India’s public transport
The remarks made by Gadkari came at a time when the vehicle population of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad had touched 50.46 lakh as on July 31Updated: Sep 08, 2017 23:46 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
At a time when private transport network has increased phenomenally, thus clogging city roads and highways, the centre has decided to push public transport, said Union minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari. He was in the city on Friday to be a part of the golden jubilee celebrations of Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) and the national seminar on ‘Safe and Sustainable Public Transport’ organised at CIRT.
The remarks made by Gadkari came at a time when Pune’s vehicle population has touched 50 lakh. The statistics provided by Regional Transport Office said, the vehicle population of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad had touched 50.46 lakh as on July 31.
Gadkari said that the present demand and growth of private vehicles will push us towards expanding the existing national highways by one lane every three years which is not feasible. “Hence, enhancing public transport is presently our priority,” added the minister.
On the occasion, Gadkari emphasised that the government was keen on a shift towards vehicles which run on electricity, ethanol, methanol and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) even as many automobile manufacturers are unhappy with it.
He stressed that there is a need for a mindset change to address issues of traffic congestion, pollution and accidents. “At a time when the government is planning to take a leap towards Euro VI compliant fuel, many are still not ready to shift to Euro IV compliant fuel which cannot be allowed,” he added.
Gadkari stated that research in effective, pollution free, indigenous alternate fuels would be encouraged and the ministry is ready to provide financial support for the same.
Further, he said, "Public transport is our priority, where we are focusing on operating buses, taxis and even two wheelers on electricity. Alternative fuel including Liquefied Natural Gas, CNG, Bio ethanol and methanol can be used which would also benefit the agriculture sector.”
Speaking on the quality of buses, Gadkari said that most public transport buses are not of expected quality and improving their standard is important.
On the occasion, Gadkari also spoke about the need to transform bus depots to bus ports, for which he said, the state government must make land available.
District-level committees to tackle road accidents
To address the issue of increasing number of road accidents in Pune, Union minister for road transport, Nitin Gadkari, on Friday said a Road Safety Committee would be set up in each district which will study the accident prone spots on various roads in the region.
Gadkari was speaking at the national seminar on Safe and Sustainable Public Transport at Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) in Pune on Friday.
He said, “In India, there are five lakh accidents every year, in which close to 1.5 lakh people lose their lives. This is a serious concern,” adding that in the last three years, this was the first year the rate of accidents lowered by 4%. However, s till a lot needs to be done, he said.
“To address the issue of road accidents, there is a plan to constitute district-level committees under the chairmanship of the collector in every district to monitor road security, identify black spots and to suggest road security measures by submitting a report of their findings to the state and central government,” informed Gadkari.
He said the ministry was adopting a multi-pronged approach under which it will check issues relating to road engineering, improved vehicle safety standards and enhancing driving skills.
“Presently, national highways, which constitute just 2% of the total road network in the country, caters to 40% of the total traffic. Soon, the existing 96,000-km of national highway will be increased to 2 lakh kilometres very soon,” said Gadkari.
He added that apart from this, 12 express highways will be built across the country which will help in faster travel.
First Published: Sep 08, 2017 23:46 IST