Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, has said that road construction has been accelerated to 28 km per day under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and would increase to an average addition of 40 km per day from next year.
"When we (government) took over, the average road construction was 2 km per day which has now been accelerated to 28 km per day. It will further go up to 40 km per day next year," he said while replying to debate on the Bill to amend Central Road Fund (CRF) Act 2000.
The Act regulates the CRF, that is credited with the cess collected on diesel and petrol. The amount collected is then released to National Highways Authority of India, and to the state/union territory for the development of national and state highways.
The amendment bill passed by the Lok Sabha seeks to allocate a share of this cess towards the development of inland waterways.
Emphasising that there is a huge requirement of funds for infrastructure development, Gadkari said the government intends to develop 12-15 inland waterways in the next two years with the help and support of all stakeholders.
Twelve major ports with a combined profit of Rs 7,000 crore have been asked to invest a portion of their profit for development of waterways.
Talking about various initiatives taken by the government to develop inland waterways in the country, he said, "Our first priority is waterways, second railways and third roads."
Work has already started on ten waterways and tenders have been issued, he said, adding these would be operational by the end of 2018.
Terming waterways as the cheapest mode of transportation, he said there are 111 national waterways in the country which can be used for the purpose.
Like airports, the country would soon be dotted with sea ports, he said.
"If you have to go to Patna then next time...you will not have to go to airport. Your aircraft will fly from Yamuna front and will stop at the river in Patna...such a revolutionary change is there in this," he said, adding, many years ago the trade used to happen on the river, but slowly it stopped.
He announced that Mumbai to Goa cruise would start from next month and there is also plan to start a cruise from Mumbai to Andaman and Nicobar. (PTI)
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