Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari today (19 September) said that 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. The minister also said that the Rs 15,000-crore Easterly-Westerly Expressways will also be inaugurated in another two months, adding that work on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway was progressing rapidly.
He said that the government is also working to add twelve expressway projects and has announced construction of additional 1.7 lakh kilometres out of four lakh kilometres National Highway planned to help decongest existing roads.
He urged state transport ministers to address the fast growing traffic on roads which are causing congestion and pollution by focusing 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. 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.
"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.
2,000 driving training centres will be set up in the country to meet the requirements of around 22 lakh drivers.
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.” PTI
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