NEW DELHI: The Sunday Guardian Foundation organized the third session of the Capital Dialogue. The chief guest for the session was the Minister of Road Transport and Highway Nitin Gadkari. The minister was welcomed by Rajya Sabha MP Kartikeya Sharma and the session was moderated by NewsX Managing editor Rishabh Gulati and Group Consulting Editor Manish Awasthi.
While beginning the session, Nitin Gadkari discussed the government’s initiatives in improving highways connecting major cities. The minister informed how work is in progress on the Bangalore to Mysore highway project. “It’s a 116 km long project and we have already completed 62 km, soon it would take only one hour to complete the journey. In February, PM will inaugurate the project,” Nitin Gadkari said.
Work on the Chennai to Bangalore project is also going in full swing and “65 per cent of the work is completed and soon it would take 2 hours from Bangalore to Chennai,” he added.The minister said, “I am not the only one to take credit for this but, the whole team worked and we have six world records.”
Nitin Gadkari also discussed how Indian roads are at par with international standards. The minister talked about India’s endeavour in constructing eco-friendly roads. “We are using alternative materials like rubber tyre powder and bitumen in constructing the roads. This is environmentally friendly and cost-effective,” the Road and Transport Minister said.
The government is encouraging the indigenous production of bitumen with rice straw. “Currently, India needs 80 lakh tonne bitumen and 50 lakh tonne is produced in India and 30 lakh tonneis imported,” the minister informed. Asked about how the government has tackled the problem of land acquisition for infrastructure development, the minister answered, “In 2013, the Parliament passed the land acquisition bill. Earlier, farmers were scared when they heard that the project is going to pass from their land but, now people come to us for projects on their land.”
“In future, we will involve farmers and will give them equity for infrastructure projects,” Nitin Gadkari said. The government has also increased its revenue from fast tags. Due to tag technology, Rs 7,000croremore has been collected from toll tax. While discussing fast tag and new technology for tolls, the minister said: “In three months, automatic satellite technology will be used to collect tolls and there will be no need to stand at the toll booth. Trials are going on,” Gadkari said.
When Rajya Sabha MP Kartikeya Sharma asked the Minister about congestion on the Delhi-Panipat Road, Nitin Gadkari highlighted how the Kotputli project has diverted around 20,000 vehicles from the road and more will be done to solve the problem.He also said that to reduce traffic on the Dholakuva-Manesar road, “we have made the Dwarka expressway and soon Dholakuva will have 2-3 layers bridge to smooth traffic flow,” Minister said
The minister asked people to use public transport and reduce air pollution. “We are making a lot of roads but, traffic is also increasing.” Nitin Gadkari discussed how Volvo sleeper-class buses will be used to ease road traffic on the roads.
The Minister also highlighted the government’s attempt to make India the biggest player in green hydrogen. “We will be becoming green hydrogen exporting country and farmers will become part of this.”
“My vision is to make our farmer ‘anndata’ to ‘urjadata’ (energy giver),” the minister said. He informed that Rs 40,000 crore was saved from mixing ethanol with petrol and this money was used for the betterment of rural India.
Currently, the government is focusing on the diversification of agriculture to make ethanol, “we have made ethanol with sugar cane, rice and bamboo”, the minister said.Soon the market will have, two-wheelers with flex engines (using ethanol). This will save money as well as the environment.
On the Joshimath issue, the minister said: “It’s a geological issue and we are investigating and after analysis, we will find the solution.”Apart from the discussion various entrepreneurs, scientists and educationists were given Building India Facilitation. Dr Vipin Sule, Dr J.P. Gupta, Abhijeet Sinha, Anuj Wahi, Shashank Rawle, Vinay Parkash Tewari, Abhishek Bhandari and Ajit Joshi were facilitated.