Pune: Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has requested the Maharashtra government to give a No Objection Certificate (NoC) to start river transport in Pune’s Mula-Mutha river.
Gadkari further lashed out at the State government’s Urban Development Department, terming it a corrupt department.
Gadkari was speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Chandni Chowk bridge on National Highway-4 (NH-4) and allied works for beautification on Sunday.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, State PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil, Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, MPs Anil Shirole, Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil and Srirang Barne, MLAs Medha Kulkarni and Bhimrao Tapkir, Mayor Mukta Tilak and others were present at the ceremony.
“The number of vehicles in the country is rising. In Pune, the vehicles’ growth is like a ‘volcano’. Due to increasing vehicular traffic, it is required to look at other options. Electric buses are an option to ease traffic from roads. River transport is cheaper than others,” Gadkari said.
River transport cheaper
“There is a plan to start 7,500 sea and 111 rivers routes in the country. I request the guardian minister to give us a letter to include the name of Mula and Mutha rivers in the 111 rivers for river transport and also an NoC to start the project - we will start as soon as the bill is passed,” Gadkari said.
“Waterways cost 20 paise per km, railways Rs 1 and roads Rs 1.5 per km. Water transport is cheaper, we are emphasising on increasing it.
Pune is an auto hub and we export from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai. We are planning to build dry ports in Ahmednagar, Solapur and Sangli,” said Gadkari.
“Maharashtra had 5,000 kms of National Highways, but we expanded to 22,000 km. Similarly, the country had 96,000 km and we expanded to 2 lakh km. Every years, there are 5 lakh accidents in the country, out of these 1.5 lakh deaths occur and 3 lakh people get serious injuries. We need to work on new ideas,” he said.
“We are going to start Dhaula Kuan to Manesar project (for aerial transport). The cost of the project is Rs 35 to 40 crore per km and metro cost is Rs 350 crore. In Pune, we are ready to start a pilot project for one-and-half km. We are ready to start in five cities across India,” Gadkari said. The project Gadkari was referring to is a ropeway-like system that runs on electricity and driverless pods and comes down at designated stations, thus, removing the traffic burden from already congested roads.