Less road traffic best way to cut pollution: Gadkari

$50-60 billion being deployed for infrastructure development, port connectivity

October 14, 2017 12:20 am | Updated 12:21 am IST

Panaji: The Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Friday reiterated his contention that India should use pollution-free methanol as fuel, on the lines of Sweden, to curb pollution.

“We must use pollution-free methanol as fuel that is available at ₹22 per litre. In Sweden, they are changing from diesel to methanol,” Mr. Gadkari said at the Sagar Discourse 2017, organised by the Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS) at a South Goa resort.

He further disclosed that the NDA government at the Centre had initiated talks with engine manufacturers including Wartsila, Cummins, to make bio-fuel compliant engines for Indian shipping vessels.

Rising costs

Aruging that discouraging road traffic was the best alternative to reduce the menace of pollution, Mr. Gadkari expressed serious concern about growing pollution on land and sea.

For instance, he pointed out that a new road lane costs the country ₹80,000 crore leading to 22 % increase in automobiles.

“We want to discourage road traffic and promote public and water transport,” he said and spoke of various initiatives in the Ganga, Brahmaputra,Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Asserting that port development was one of the focus areas, he said that $50-60 billion was being deployed for infrastructure development for port connectivity that will lead to industrial investment of $ 110 billion of industrial investment and boost employment.

“We are creating 40 river ports with 3 metre draft and will have a river traffic control on the lines of air traffic control,” Mr. Gadkari said.

In another session, Krishna Kotak chairman, JM Baxi said integration of maritime asset with the hinterland is the key. “In terms of cargo handling cost at ports, we are most competitive in the world, unfortunately rail connectivity is expensive,” he said. His comment was in an apparent reference to the higher logistics cost mentioned by Mr. Gadkari earlier.

In his concluding remarks, Captain Sanjay Prashar, co-convenor, FINS Maritime Study Group, called for need for failure analysis report from the coastal shipping fund of 1970.

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