Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that his ministry can solve the country’s water crisis. ‘Mission Amrit Sarovar’ was launched on April 24, 2022 as part of the celebration of Amrit Mahotsav of Azadi, with the goal of conserving water for the future. The Ministry of Rural Development launched the mission with a target to develop and regenerate 75 water bodies in each district of the country. The two-day event, on the theme ‘Idea to Action-Towards a Smart, Sustainable Road Infra, Mobility, and Logistics Ecosystem’, was attended by ministers and officials from the Center and states.
During the ‘Manthan’ program under ‘Bharatmala’, he said, “You all know that the Center has come up with the ‘Amrit Sarovar’ scheme. The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways can do a great job in addressing the problem of water. ” series here.
Gadkari said he hails from the Vidarbha region, where thousands of farmers have committed suicide in the past few years, adding that one of the reasons for the agrarian crisis is water scarcity. “There is water crisis at many places. There is no shortage of water but water management (is an issue). We can use our highways to build lakes,” the minister said.
He said that soil is required for construction of highways, which can be obtained so that new water bodies can be created. Gadkari said that this would not only meet the need of road construction but would also provide new lakes in rural areas, which would ultimately increase the groundwater level.
He cited an example where a university got 36 lakes and 22 wells in the surrounding villages due to a project executed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Gadkari said that such innovative measures would bring down the project cost and help many others.
He appealed to the ministers and officials of the Center and the states to work on reducing the project cost. The minister stressed on the construction of durable roads and asked the states to build concrete roads, which can last for at least 25 years.
In this context he recalled how he built 750 km of concrete road in his constituency and claimed that there were no potholes. Gadkari also told the gathering that on his request, the Maharashtra government whitewashed 6,000 km of roads in Mumbai.
The minister said, “White topping is a one-time investment. You may need to spend 20 per cent extra, but it will last for 25 years, whereas bitumen roads are cheaper but require maintenance every two to three years. It is,” said the minister. ,
He also emphasized on increasing greenery along the expressway and recommended a ‘tree bank’ where at least five trees should be planted for each tree. Gadkari asked NHAI, railways, ports and district authorities to become a single entity to develop a tree bank. The minister also insisted on planting trees instead of cutting them.
Emphasizing on reducing the carbon footprint through transplantation, the minister also pushed for 100 per cent ethanol fuel to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The Minister underlined the importance of an integrated approach with multi-modal transport for India to become a USD 5 trillion economy.
He said 90 per cent of passenger traffic and 70 per cent of freight traffic was on roads, and there is a need for an integrated approach where waterways, railways and airports are interconnected, and logistics parks play an important role. If the land is provided by the state governments, the road transport ministry will help in the construction of the logistics parks. He said that the construction cost would have to be reduced while the quality of construction would have to improve significantly.
With inputs from PTI