NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the 3rd Edition of Roads and Highways Summit at FICCI, Federation House today. Addressing the inaugural session, the Minister said that India has the second highest road network in the world and this is the time to expand road network and take it to two lakh kilometres by the end of 2024. Currently, 90 per cent of passenger and 80 per cent goods traffic is catered by roads. He talked about the flagship programe of Bharatmala Pariyojna and increased budget for road infrastructure.
Addressing the gathering, he talked about the challange of reducing the logistics cost from 16 per cent to 10 per cent. He said that to achieve a reduction in logistics cost, we need an integrated approach of waterways, railway, roads and aviation. He also emphasised about reducing the use of petrol and diesel. He stressed upon the use of LNG and ethanol, methanol, hydrogen as alternatives to petrol and diesel as they are cost-effective.
He said that the government is moving in that direction. The vehicles with flex engine are available now. He said that our ‘Annadata’ farmers can become ‘Urjadata’ by production of ethanol from bio-waste and parali. Citing the examples of various road infrastructure projects that the government is constructing, Gadkari told how these projects would lead to better connectivity between cities and people. He said that the Construction of tunnels has helped safe environment and resources. Multimodal logistic park, parking plazas, road side amenities will help promote tourism and also generate employment opportunities.
He stressed upon the need to continuously research on technology and search for alternatives to make infrastructure sustainable and efficient. The Minister also said that using various models of investment like bot, hybrid , EPC toll operate transfer capital is being raised for the projects. He said, the new models of ‘InvIT’ will help raise funds from small investors and this will help get better returns to the small investors.