Gadkari aims for 10,000 seaplanes, electric highways

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Jan 2018 09:30:10


By Namita Tewari,

NEW DELHI,

Dec 31,

(PTI),

CLEAR water bodies dotted with 10,000 seaplanes, ‘floating cities’ in the form of ocean cruises and electric vehicles zipping on dedicated highway lanes -- that’s the future as envisioned by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. For the ‘go-getter’ Minister at the helm of affairs to overhaul the country’s infrastructure, India has the potential to realise all this and much more. “I have been talking about seaplanes. If it starts, in India we have the potential of starting 10,000 seaplanes. We have 3 to 4 lakh ponds in India, plenty of dams, 2,000 river ports, 200 small ports and 12 major ports. It will cost less,” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari told PTI.

The Minster said he has asked his civil aviation counterpart Ashok Gajapathi Raju to explore a regulatory regime for single-engine seaplanes to facilitate introduction of such planes in the country as early as possible.Describing cruises as “floating cities”, Gadkari said they have the potential to swell to more than 950 from about 90 at present.Cruises from India could go to Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand and massive efforts are underway to boost this segment, including a Rs 1,000 crore terminal being built in Mumbai. A policy is also in the works.

Listing priorities for 2018, Gadkari said work will start on much-awaited India’s first pod taxi project after a high- level panel recommended inviting fresh bids for the same conforming to the strictest global safety standards. “Seaplanes, cruises, waterways, electric vehicles, pod taxis, catamarans, expressways” or the mammoth Rs 16 lakh crore Sagarmala and Rs 7 lakh crore Bharatmala initiatives will change the face of India’s infrastructure, he claimed.

Another key thrust area would be to reduce crude imports of Rs 7 lakh crore by at least half and provide jobs to at least 50 lakh youth in related industries. “We are making efforts to overhaul transport. We are importing crude oil worth Rs 7 lakh crore. We have decided to bring cost effective, import substitute, pollution free and indigenous fuel.