Creative thinking, social spirit and strong will give energy to take the task to the finishing line even in difficult situations. The government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has set new records in every field, because the work was done by setting goals with a new perspective in every field. Due to the co-ordination between government, organization and society, public confidence in government and dedication towards the organization has increased. All components of government have been functioning keeping the society and the nation at the center. Due to the concept of national development with common prosperity, the country is moving forward in the show of new change.
The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways is playing an important role in the economic and social development of the nation. Taking the work of highway to expressway, road construction up to 30 km a day and green mobility has taken the country to a new dimension.
The second innings of the Modi government is going to speed up development. I got an opportunity to carry forward the works which were started in the previous term by getting the responsibility of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways again. Our government has taken several important steps towards improving infrastructure development. Reducing the road travel time is the most powerful means of reducing the cost of essential commodities along with fuel. The expressway is the most essential component to make the country’s development dynamic. Therefore our main focus is on the expressway. We are constructing 3 new expressways in the country. Two expressways have been dedicated to the country. There is a record of construction of 35 km long 6 lane Eastern Peripheral Expressway in just 500 days. The 90-km Delhi-Meerut Expressway with 14 lanes is the first-widest expressway in the country. The construction of 1320 km long expressway between Delhi Mumbai has started. Apart from this, 6 economic corridors are proposed in the country.
This period can be called as the new age of structural change in the country. With taking road construction to a new level, we are giving a new dimension to logistics. Delhi-Mumbai
Expressway will be a better model of logistics development. There is also a plan to run trucks, buses with electricity on this expressway.
There is a plan to create such a structure on the side of the expressway, so that grains, fruits and locally produced goods can be easily transported from one state to another and outside the country. In the last one year, road projects worth three and a half lakh crores have been approved. Between 2014 and 2019, road projects worth five and a half lakh crores had started. Prior to 2014, the road sector was struggling with lack of funds due to the wrong policies of the previous government. Work of more than six lakh crores was stuck. Such a gap of mistrust between the government and companies was created, which was not easy to bridge. Big companies had backed out of work. The problems were not only solved by co-ordinating between ministry officials, bankers, companies, but also created an atmosphere of trust that the companies that backed out of the road construction came forward and the banks also stepped in to cooperate with the lending. The length of national highways in the country has reached one lakh 50 thousand km. We are aiming to make it two lakh km. We are not just making roads, but also connecting backward, forested areas. The work of providing better connectivity to tourism, religious places is also being done. The Chardham Project, Ramvanagam Marg, Kailash Mansarovar, the beginning of the new era of structural change, the construction of the Buddhist circuit is part of it. The day is not far when we will be able to go to Mansarovar from Uttarakhand. With the reduce distance from Jammu to Srinagar, people will be able to reach Lakbakh in all seasons. After the construction of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (Chenani Nashri) tunnel route, a 10 km long tunnel connecting Jammu to Srinagar, work of Zojila tunnel connecting Ladakh is going to start soon.
Our government has passed the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill and has brought transparency in many issues. This will reduce road accidents. Corruption of the Transport Department will be curbed. The general public is relieved of unnecessary trouble and discipline will come in those who drive vehicles arbitrarily. Vehicle speed has increased in the country, accidents have come down, we have also taken many steps to solve the problem of vehicle pollution.
We are promoting e-vehicles in the country. The government is encouraging two wheeler, four wheeler electric vehicles. Similarly, our ministry is also encouraging to convert trucks, buses into organic fuels. Green mobility is a beneficial option. It saves fuel, reduces pollution and makes this fuel cheaper than petroleum material. Our objective is to reduce the burden of import of 6 lakh crore petroleum products every year on the country. In Nagpur, we have successfully used gas to drive vehicles extracted from toilet water.
There are one thousand electric taxis, autos operating in Nagpur. We are now going to convert Vidarbha into Green Energy. I believe that if all the cities of the country extract gas from the contaminated water of their toilet, they can become self-sufficient by driving a vehicle from it.
We need to be ‘Atmanirbhar’ from every point of view. After the global epidemic of Corona, the world is looking at us with great hope. Many companies are eager to come to our country with which has plenty of electricity and water. They have faith in the leadership of the country, the power system. This belief has been achieved due to the transparent functioning of the government. The country is going through such a phase of transformation, which will create a golden India.
(The writer is Minister of Road Transport & Highways; Shipping; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India)