Private players need to invest in expressway projects: Gadkari

New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari invited private players to invest liberally in expressways, waterways and irrigation projects as well as towards the “Clean Ganga Mission”.

“Private players should consider investing in fast-growing expressways, highways, waterways, irrigation projects and projects under “Clean Ganga Mission”,” road transport and shipping minister Gadkari said while addressing the 91st annual general meeting of industry body FICCI, through video conferencing.

The government had brought down the cost of land acquisition drastically to Rs 80 lakh per km from Rs 7.5 crore per km earlier for the development of expressways, Gadkari said, adding that private players should take advantage of the reduced land acquisition and labour cost.

He further said land can even be made available to Indian Railways for bullet train routes.

“Access controlled expressway of Delhi would reduce automotive pollution by 60 per cent in the city as the traffic will pass through the external ring roads without entering Delhi. The Bengaluru-Chennai expressway would be operational from January next year and the 12-lane Bombay-Delhi expressway, currently under construction, would reduce the distance between the two metros by 120 km,” the Minister said.

He suggested the use of methanol and LNG as fuel to reduce the cost of logistics and added that the government intent to achieve the target of building roads at 40 kms/day by the end of this fiscal year.

Gadkari said the government had decided to use 111 rivers for waterways and sought industry’s cooperation in transport of goods through this channel to reduce transportation cost. Under the “Clean Ganga Mission”, about 10-15 per cent of the 280 projects had been completed.

A total of 150 bio-digester units were to be installed along the river to upgrade sanitary conditions.

Ganga rejuvenation was now a success story, he said, adding that by March-end 2019, close to 80 per cent of the river would be clean and in the following year the Ganga would be fully clean.

He urged the Indian industry to contribute to the mission through electronic fund transfer and help create employment opportunities for the local populace. The Minister said his Ministry will be starting the cleaning work in Yamuna shortly.

He said the government is collaborating with a Russian company for the feasibility of introducing airboats. A pilot would be taken up on 26 January, 2019 on river Yamuna from Delhi to Taj Mahal.