85% of country’s traffic will be on 4% nat’l highways in 3 yrs: Nitin Gadkari

Mumbai : With a view to significantly bring down pollution levels, the government has decided to adopt and implement in totality the automobile standards in developed countries, union minister for shipping, road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi.

“Yesterday itself, we have decided to appoint a consultant to study all automobile standards for both fuel and vehicle in countries like Germany, France, UK, Sweden and implement it on the same lines in India,” said Gadkari while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM conference, ‘India on cusp of logistics revolution.’

Talking about the need and scope for reforms in logistics sector, Gadkari said that though India has a total road length of about 52 lakh kilometres (kms), out of this national highways’ length accounted for only 96,000 kms.

“About 40 per cent of country’s total traffic was plying on two per cent roads thereby leading to problems like increase in pollution and accidents,” he said.

“We had thus decided to increase national highways’ length to two lakh kilometres and I am pleased to inform that till date we have declared 1.75 lakh kms of road-length as national highway and in next three years we plan to shift 80-85 per cent of country’s total traffic on four per cent of national highways,” added Gadkari.

Highlighting the various other initiatives of the government, he said that while cement-concrete roads are being constructed, they are also being widened so that heavy 20-30 tonnes trucks can ply on the same. Besides, efforts are being made to shift logistics parks out of town.

“All these initiatives are aimed at reducing pollution levels, promote industrial development, bring down costs, generate employment, increase economic growth and boost exports,” said the union minister.

“We are looking into the successful practices employed internationally and willing to adopt the same, besides we are also willing to reform our technology and think out of box,” he added.

He also said that government is looking towards promoting use of cost effective, import substitute, pollution free and indigenous technology as such thrust is being laid upon use of electric vehicles and green fuel like ethanol.

“We are going to bring in a policy to promote use of alternative fuel which is indigenous and pollution free as it will help in saving lot of time, bring down logistics cost by 4-6 per cent which is currently about 14-18 per cent unlike in China where it is 10-12 per cent and in European countries where it is 12-14 per cent,” added Gadkari.

The union minister also said that he has proposed it to the Uttar Pradesh (UP) chief minister, Yogi Adityanath to promote use of ethanol as an alternate fuel in all types of bus services in the state, be it within cities or regional transport from district to district as UP leads India in ethanol production. He added that improving the condition and promoting use of public transport is also the government’s priority.

“We are planning to start double-decker, air-conditioned, executive-class bus services connecting metro cities like Delhi-Jaipur, Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Shimla, Delhi-Ludhiana and others,” said Gadkari.

“Providing robust electric public-transport across India is one of our dreams and we are constantly working on the same by bringing new and innovative models, accepting fuel standards and changing automobile related laws,” he said further.

He also said that such an initiative is aimed at discouraging people from using their own vehicles. “The pace at which the number of cars is rising across India, we might have to add another lane on roads which is likely to cost us

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