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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Water transport, ‘air pods’, electricity-based public transport has become a necessity in Pune, says Nitin Gadkari

To bridge the gap created by limited roadways, Gadkari suggested the implementation of innovative ways of public transport in order to meet the transport needs. 

pune Updated: Aug 28, 2017 16:16 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Union Minister for Road Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari with NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a Chandani chowk bridge in Pune on Sunday.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari with NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a Chandani chowk bridge in Pune on Sunday.(PTI)
         

Given the rising growth in the automobile sector,the first priority of local authorities should be implementing more water transport as the government will not be able to fulfil the transport needs through roadways only, said Union road transport and highway minister, Nitin Gadkari, on Sunday.

“India enjoys a coastline which is 7,500-km long. We have passed a bill in the Parliament to build waterways over 1100 rivers and construction work has already started in two of the places. The coastline and 20,000-km of waterways should be converted into priority transport routes,” he said.

Given the shortage of space, Pune should prioritise waterways, followed by railways and then roadways, he said.

“Transport being my ministry, it is difficult for me to say this. However, people need to decide, based on the current pollution levels and cost, between waterways transport, which costs 20 paise, railways, which costs Rs 1, and roads, which cost Rs 1.50,” he said.

He then pitched for the Mula-Mutha river to be included under the ambit of Inland Waterways Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2016.

“I have asked Girish Bapat to put Mula-Mutha in the list of rivers for waterways multiple times , but it could not materialise. I request the state government to give me a no-objection-certificate to include Mula-Mutha in the list of 111 waterways. In September, we are receiving five Japanese aircraft which can land on water. We need five places to pilot test them and I’m ready to use the ponds in Pune for it,” the Union minister said. 

To bridge the gap created by limited roadways, Gadkari suggested the implementation of innovative ways of public transport in order to meet the transport needs. 

However, all of the plans that are currently in place, is definitely not sufficient. Therefore, new ways should be invented, he said. “In order to do that, I have introduced five new technologies. One of  them is buses which operate in the air and carry 150 people. There is no other option but to have public transport run on electricity,” said Gadkari.

He then emphasised on the huge potential of reducing pollution and making money at a lesser cost by building and using dry ports along railway lines. Talking about his air pods, which is his pet project, Gadkari said, “We need five cities for pilot testing the air pods for public transport. We have started the project in Delhi and will soon start in Nagpur and Varansi. I’m ready to include two places from Pune in the pilot project so that the people in Pune can fly over Laxmi Road. We should discourage the sale of new private vehicles and encourage public transport.”

“Maharashtra had 5000 km long National Highway which has now been increased to 22,000 km. The country had 96,000 km national highway which we increased to 2,00,000 km. Our country witnesses 5,00,000 accidents every year which claim 1,50,000 lives and 3,00,000 lose/break their limbs. We have a road-length of 82,00,000 km in India of which only 96,000 km were national highways. Therefore, 40% of national traffic was travelling on 2% of roads which caused the high number of accidents. Now that the national highways are twice the earlier length, 4% of roads will serve 80% of the traffic,” he said.

First Published: Aug 27, 2017 23:33 IST

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