In an event, Nitin Gadkar expressed the Central Government’s vision to make e-autorickshaws a common sight in rural India, create a water grid that is at par with power grid and constructing 14 highways cum air strips. He added that electric mode public transport has become the need of the hour now. Gadkari said that the government will be focusing on e-autorickshaws and lithuium powered vehicles. The cost has already come down by 40% and with mass production, it will come down even further.
Thrust will also be on rural transport, electric auto rickshaws and other vehicles powered by lithium ion battery. Its cost has already been reduced by 40 per cent and prices will further come down on mass production,” Gadkari said. He added, “India has become coal and power surplus. Electric mode is getting cheaper. Transport charges will come down. People will get sustainable transport. Whether West Bengal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, North East, Uttar Pradesh or Bihar – metro and electric transport will expand eliminating hand rickshaws, which is inhuman (practice),” he said.
Gadkari got the additional charge of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation in last week’s cabinet reshuffle. He referred to the paradoxical situation of States like “Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan which were battling with water crisis on one hand and on the other hand there are States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha which are flooded. Gadkari insisted that there was a serious though on creating Water Grid which was on part with successful Power Grids and which could divert excess water from water surplus regions to water deficient regions of the country. He assured that the work would on interlinking of three out of five identified rivers would commence within three months at an estimated project cost of INR 50,000 crores.
Speaking on the road ways, Gadkari said that Defence has agreed to transfer land near Dhaulakuan for widening the road stretch and ease traffic. A nod has also been given for building 17 highways in border areas that will double up as airstrips in State of Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and some other border regions. Permissions and approvals from the Aviation Ministry are under process. The work on these 17 road projects are slated to commence by 2018 or even before that.
Additionally work has begun on two projects on Ganga and Brahamaputra rivers. Work on another 10 waterway projects will commence this year end.