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Multimodal Transport A Game-Changer, Says Nitin Gadkari

The central government is spending Rs 4.5 lakh crore in the roads sector and Rs 3.6 lakh crore on developing the shipping industry

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The government is planning to develop an integrated system of roads, railways, airports and seaports and is also working on port-led industrialization, said Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping, and described the development of integrated logistics and inland waterways as a game changer.

Addressing the 89th Annual General Meeting of FICCI, he said the government accorded the highest prominence to infrastructure and his ministry is committed to achieve this objective.

The government is spending Rs 4.5 lakh crore in the roads sector and Rs 3.6 lakh crore on shipping.

When the government came to power there were Rs 3,85,000 crore worth of stalled projects. At present 95 per cent of the projects are operational, saving the banks from creating non-performing assets.

While promoting the self-sustained model, Gadkari said that to tackle the problem of rising NPAs in road sector, the government has introduced Highway Annuity model, which has created confidence with banks and infrastructure companies.

He added that one of the most important initiative by the government was the proposed construction of 12 express highways across the country for the first time.

To relieve Delhi of its rising traffic and pollution, the government is building easterly and westerly bypass at a cost of Rs 15,000 crore.

This was earlier to be completed in two-and-a-half years and now advanced to 400 days at the Prime Minister's behest. The government also plans to develop 36 ring roads in mega cities across India.

The minister said that to develop roadside amenities such as medical, eatables and entertainment, the government had identified 1,300 spots for which it will invite the private sector for bidding.

Showcasing the huge potential for the port sector, the minister said that the government ports are performing exceptionally well and have shown a profit of Rs 6,000 crore this year and projected a profit of Rs 7,000 crore next year. He added that in future economic viability lies in logistics, road amenities, tourism, bus ports, water ports and multimodal hubs.

Speaking on the development of automobile hubs near the port, the minister said that this will lead to a growth of 22% for the automobile sector and the cost will come down to 25-26%. Highlighting the importance of a circular economy, Gadkari projected a 'Waste to Wealth' economy of Rs 10 lakh crore which will help create value from sewage and waste land. To promote pollution free transportation the government was coming up with Mass Rapid Transport driven by power.

Pushing the government's 'Make in India' agenda, the minister gave the mantra of 'Be Indian, Buy Indian' and invited Indian companies to join the government's initiative to drive this massive change in infrastructure sector.

The Minister mentioned that his ministry's targets to implement Rs 25 lakh crore worth of projects in five years of which, Rs 15 lakh crore will be in road sector and Rs 10 lakh crore in shipping sector.

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