The minister said that 8,144 km of roads were constructed last fiscal. His ministry, Gadkari said, on an average has recorded road construction of 23 km a day as against 2 km a day when the UPA government was in power.
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari today said that efforts are being made to further improve the road construction target to 40 km a day from the current 23 km per day. The minister said that 8,144 km of roads were constructed last fiscal. His ministry, Gadkari said, on an average has recorded road construction of 23 km a day as against 2 km a day when the UPA government was in power. “I had fixed the target of 40 km per day but I was not able to achieve that but… I am hopeful of achieving this target,” he said while addressing a national conference on the steel sector.
The minister further said he intends to complete infrastructure work worth Rs 25 lakh crore in five years. Gadkari said all these initiatives would give a huge boost to the steel and cement sectors.
Till March 31, the ministry has already allotted projects worth Rs 5.5 lakh crore in roads and ports sectors, he added.
The government has decided to increase the length of national highways from the existing 96,000 km to 2 lakh km.
“We have fast-tracked the decision-making process for the projects,” he added.
Gadkari said there are also plans to make 11 expressways including Delhi-Katra and Delhi-Jaipur. “We will complete these two projects before August 15,” he said, adding that work on Mumbai-Baroda Expressway would start in three months’ time.
In a bid to curb road accidents, Gadkari said the ministry has made it mandatory to have crash barriers. He also emphasised on the need to reduce cost of construction and material and also improve the quality. Talking about the power sector, the minister said the country has surplus coal but still the power cost is high. He said scrapping of power plants older than 25 years will help increase power efficiency and reduce cost.
Cheap power will also increase the viability of steel plants, he said, adding “it is important to reduce power cost and make it uniform”. On reducing transport cost, he said the ministry is working on a rail link between the coal belt of Talcher and Paradip port.
This project would help cut the cost of coal and power, he said, adding “I have a dream project to make a 800-km long canal from Kandla at the border of Gujarat/Rajasthan to Jaisalmer”. On the vehicle scrapping policy, Gadkari said it is yet to be finalised. The cabinet secretary has cleared it and now it will go to the Prime Minister’s Office, he said.
The policy aims at scraping nearly 15 lakh heavy vehicles that are more than 15 years old in the first phase.
The success of this policy would help in pushing the growth of the auto sector to Rs 20 lakh crore by 2020, he said.
According to him, the policy may provide benefits of Rs 2-3 lakh for every heavy vehicle to be scrapped. The policy would be a “win-win for everbody…We will talk to states and finance ministry and then go to the cabinet,” he added. Further, Gadkari said, “I am going to Singapore on April 23 to raise Rs 5,000 crore through bonds at less than 7 per cent rate in rupee”.
On increasing the network of mass rapid transport system, he said the government is doing lot of work in this direction. He said Metrino’ public transport project will enable travelling in driverless pods suspended on a ropeway in the national capital region. Metrino project would be built from Dhaula Kuan in Delhi to Manesar in Haryana.