MUMBAI: In a serious bid to get the economy rolling, the union minister of roads and highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday called for urgent action to facilitate Inter-State border movements of trucks/lorries carrying essential goods to ease public life during COVID 19 pandemic. He urged the state ministers to intervene in such matters and ensure resolutions through the local and district administrations.
Gadkari in web interaction said all States and UTs need take urgent action so that blockades of trucks and lorries at inter State/UT borders is cleared at the earliest possible as smooth movement of essential goods to various parts of the country.
He pointed out that transportation of labour to factories may be facilitated by duly following the health protocols of maintaining minimum one metre distance, wearing masks, use of sanitizers.
The minister however, suggested that providing food and shelter to labour may be ensured fully observing the norms of social distancing and hygiene. He assured states and UTs that his ministry will start a helpline to resolve the transportation issues.
Further, Gadkari called upon the state Transport Ministers to explore operationalizing App-based two-wheeler taxis especially in rural areas which will assist farming communities with smoother movement. ‘’This will also provide new employment opportunities.
They may also try shift public transport to LNG/CNG, e-vehicles which will bring considerable savings on fuel bills and will help the environment being less/zero polluting fuels,’’ he noted. Gadkari informed that he was according top priority to the development of road and highway infrastructure and is planning to enhance National Highway construction by 2 to 3 times of the present pace in next couple of years.
He, therefore, asked states and union territories to expedite land acquisition and utilise funds of about Rs 25000 crore allocated for the purpose to help regain momentum in road construction through land acquisition.
A presentation was made showing the works being carried during the lockdown period. It was stated that 1315 projects covering 49,238 kms worth Rs 5,89,648 crore were under progress, of which 819 projects covering 30,301 kms were delayed.