Nagpur: Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways & Shipping Nitin Gadkari has said that improving conditions of roads in the country for swifter and safer movement of vehicles is priority of the Government. He said that in the next three years, trucks on roads will be able to cover up to 600 k.m. per day. Gadkari was addressing the inaugural session of the 5th Edition of Indian Supply Chain Logistics Summit on “Opportunities, Synergy, Technology in Logistics; Auto Manufacturing, Integrated Logistics and E-commerce Edition 2015” organized by Indian Chambers of Commerce here today.
The Minister said e-Toll being introduced at toll gates in the country will help in reducing the waiting time of vehicles which presently costs 2-3% of GDP. Stating that making highway transport easier for travellers is a priority Gadkari said, he has advised Ministry officials to identify projects up to Rs. 100 Crore investments, where either the cost has been recovered or was about to be recovered and projects where collection of toll has become unviable. He added, till date 74 such public funded Tolls have been identified and out of those 61 have been shut down. Similarly, projects of investment less than Rs. 100 Crore under PPP are also being identified and ways are being explored to shut down all such toll plazas post-addressing contractual obligations.
The Minister said the Government is brining changes in the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, and a Bill in this regard with several innovative steps will be introduced in the next session of the Parliament. Emphasizing on bringing down cost of construction of roads while improving quality, the Minister said the Government is giving priority to construction of cement-concrete roads as they have low maintenance cost. The Minster added that many of the stalled road projects have been restarted by the new Government, while bottlenecks in the others are being addressed.
Expressing concern over high rate of accidents in the country, the Minister said that poor road designing at several places is a basic reason for this. He said the Government is looking into the issue. He said the Government is planning construction of truck terminals and truck clubs with facilities such as dhabas, rest rooms, toilets etc.
The Minister called upon the industry leaders present at the summit to invest in the development of waterways in the country as transportation on water is much cheaper compared to rail and road. He also underlined use of alternative fuels such as ethanol, bio-diesel, bio-gas and bio-CNG for reducing pollution and saving money spent on importing oil.