Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said the construction work of Rs 44,000 crore Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway will begin in another one month, after which one can cover the distance between the two cities in less than three hours. “In one month, we are going to inaugurate construction work of Mumbai-Vadodara Express Highway, which is coming up at a cost of Rs 44,000 crore. After this is constructed, the distance between Vadodara and Mumbai can be covered in 2.30-2.45 hours. It will also be access control expressway (for high speed driving),” Gadkari, minister of Road Transport and Highways, said.
The minister also said that the Rs 15,000-crore Easterly-Westerly Expressways will also be inaugurated in another two months. “We will begin construction work on this in another one month,” he said, adding that work on Delhi-Meerut Expressway is also “on at fast pace.” Gadkari was speaking at the 38th Transport Development Council (TDC) and Conference of State Transport Ministers being organised here by his ministry.
The minister said his government is also working to add twelve Expressway projects and has announced construction of additional 1.7 lakh kilometres out of 4 lakh kilometres National Highway planned to help decongest existing roads. He urged state transport ministers present here to address the fast growing traffic on roads which are causing congestion and pollution by focussing on public mode of transport.
“We will have to encourage public transport in the country. People use their own car to go from one place to another. They will visit between Vadodara to Mumbai in their own cars…Public transport should be cheap, pollution-free. So, public transport and electric vehicles are our priority,” he said.
He urged ministers to bring in new technology and innovations to address the issue and said his government at Centre has decided to convert 111 rivers into inland waterway. “We have to find out different options and alternatives which are pollution-free, cost effective and could offer substitute for import (of oil),” Gadkari said.
He urged transport ministers to think of constructing bus ports like bus terminus which have been developed in Gujarat. The terminus provides better comfort and facilities to people using state transport buses. “Should not the poor passengers get better services at bus stations, which are in a very pathetic condition in most states. We are ready to even grant funds for the same. “But we want you to take the initiative. We will provide you with any kind of assistance that you will need,” he said, calling for better service standards in public transport system, many of which are loss making.
The Council meeting saw discussions on the subject of Public Transport Reforms and way forward to bus ports. Gadkari said 2,000 driving training centres will be set up in the country to meet the requirements of around 22 lakh drivers.
“This centres will give fitness certificate, pollution free certificate, train the drivers and conduct the examination. It will communicate results of the driving test to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) within three days,” said the minister.
He said, “We decided to hold this meeting in Vadodara on the suggestion of Prime Mminister Narendra Modi who wanted us to see how bus ports have been constructed in Vadodara and Ahmedabad as part of public transport reforms.”
Expressing concern over three lakh people losing their life in accidents every year, Gadkari said, “I will ask all states to prepare action plan to reduce road accident fatalities as part of road safety.”