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Eco-friendly cars to Ganga as transport hub... Gadkari's big plans

May 29, 2014 22:09 IST

Promoting ethanol-friendly cars, turning river Ganga into a waterway and rolling out 50 stalled road projects are three top agendas that figure prominently in new Transport & Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari's blue-print to spur infrastructure growth.

Putting in place a "a reward and punishment" system for road construction and building concrete highways are two other focus areas of Gadkari, who assumed charge of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Ministry on Thursday.

"The nation spends Rs 6 lakh crore (Rs 6 trillion) on imports of petrol, diesel and gas. Huge crude and gas bill is the reason behind rupee depreciation.

"I have asked the department to study whether the five big companies - Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota, Honda and Fiat - can import E85 engine here, like they do in Brazil and Canada," he said addressing his maiden press conference as the Infrastructure Minister.

E85 engines consume the fuel that is a mix of 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent petrol.

He said the ministers concerned will soon hold a meeting with farmers in Petroleum Minister's presence for exploring the possibilities of reviving sick sugar factories so that ethanol is available in abundance.

"Hurdles on the way of 50 mega road projects would be removed soon and a reward and punishment system would be introduced in the department so that accountability is fixed. There will be zero tolerance for corruption and delays."

Gadkari said he has also asked the department to study whether concrete roads, which are more durable and virtually maintenance-free, could be built instead of bitumen highways that get damaged due to rain and weather.

North East and Jammu & Kashmir would be the focus area for road projects, he added.

On Ganga, he said his department in coordination of Ministries of Water Resources, Urban Development, Forest and Environment, Industry, Tourism and Power was exploring the possibility of a waterway of Gangotri-Kanpur-Allahabad-Kolkata for cargo and passenger movement.

The river bank can be developed in a such a fashion that tourism is also promoted by setting up airport-like terminals on its banks besides having light and sound shows.

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