Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari
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A special chat with Nitin Gadkari

After the lockdown gets over the society will have to encounter a completely new lifestyle as per the Central Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. He said this in a free wheeling chat with the 'Navshakti' newspaper. Everyone will need to embrace modern technology right from common people to people working in high positions. Masks,sanitisers,mobile app, video conferencing, mobile booking, online services will become an integral part of day to day life. During the lockdown period companies allowed their employees to 'work from home' which benefited both the employees and the companies. Gadkari predicted that this workstyle may get more push and will be used more.

Gadkari said that he is maintaining a close watch on the lockdown impact in Maharashtra. He is also entrusted with a sending a daily report about it to the Prime Minister's office.

Gadkari is currently in Nagpur and he had an open hearted video conferencing chat for forty minutes with three selected editors. During the lockdown daily newspapers are not reaching all households. There is no able distribution network to distribute newspapers. Hence, only a few stalls are selling newspapers. The common Mumbaikars read all the newspapers online. The bigger concern he expressed was how will these newspapers get their circulation back once the lockdown is over. Media has to embrace new technology, opined Gadkari,adding that even editors need to understand the need for technology and people's choices. It is difficult to predict in the current scenario whether the newspaper circulation or the advertisements that they received will continue as before. While this may be a sad fact for the newspapers the newspapers will need to prepare themselves to face this reality.

He expressed disappointment about the fact that people tend to crowd roads and market places even during the lockdown. To avert such crowds he said that news mediums also along with the government should raise awareness among the people.

When asked about how he spends time during the lockdown period Gadkari answered that he cooks news dishes everyday. He keeps the recipe handy and makes the dish. He prepared Masala Dosa and Sambhar on Friday, whereas he prepared fried idli and Chinese sauce on Saturday, said Gadkari. He also does Panchkarma and Pranayam at home which gives him health benefits, he said. He enjoys watching classics at home. Amol Palekar's 'Rajniganda'. Amitabh Bacchan's 'Janjeer' and Rajesh Khanna's 'Anand' are a few names of a few movies that he has binged on during the lockdown period.

When he was asked about he goes on meeting people during the lockdown he said he meets only limited and chosen people. He gives precedence to those who have urgent work with him. He tends to help those who wan't some urgent medical help or some help for a heart surgery. He emphasised that he has helped more than 8000 people for their heart surgeries. He also added that he has distributed 20 days rations to around 350 shoe shiners in Nagpur. He has initiated sanitiser manufacturing from the ethanol generated in sugar mills and has brought them at half the price in the market.

When asked about the migrant labourers in Mumbai he said that it is in their interest to stay in the city. He emphasised on the fact that if trains are released and if they are overcrowded then a big danger of infection lingers. After April many MSMEs will open up, transport of goods will eased, the deadlock over trade will end. Once the small and big factories open then the workers will get employment and the picture will ultimately change in the 8-15 days.

8-10 states in the city extended the lockdown till April 30. However, the Prime Minister chose to extend it till May 3. When he was asked the reason for this he said that only the PM could be able to answer this question. He added before the PM announced the lockdown even his cabinet colleagues were not aware about it.

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