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Nitin Gadkari wants to use highways for building lakes

Nitin Gadkari wants to use highways for building lakes

Nitin Gadkari wants to use highways for building lakes
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By PTI Sept 8, 2022 9:25:44 PM IST (Published)

"There is a water crisis in many places. There is no dearth of water but water management (is an issue). We can use our highways for building lakes," the minister said.

Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highway Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said his ministry can address the water woes faced in parts of the country.

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The 'Mission Amrit Sarovar' was launched on National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24, 2022 as a part of celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav with an objective to conserve water for future.
"You all know that the Centre has come up with the 'Amrit Sarovar' scheme. The road, transport and highway ministry can do great work in addressing the water woes," he said during the 'Manthan' programme under the 'Bharatmala' series here.
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The Mission, launched by the Ministry of Rural Development, is aimed at developing and rejuvenating 75 water bodies in each district of the country.
Ministers and officials from the Centre and states are participating in the two-day event, themed on 'Ideas to Action-Towards a Smart, Sustainable Road Infra, Mobility and Logistics Ecosystem'.
Noting that he comes from Vidarbha region where thousands of farmers had died by suicide over the years, Gadkari said one of the reasons for the agrarian crisis was water scarcity.
"There is a water crisis in many places. There is no dearth of water but water management (is an issue). We can use our highways for building lakes," the minister said. He said building highways requires soil, which can be obtained in a manner that new water bodies can be formed.
This will not only fulfill the road construction requirement but also provide new lakes in rural areas, which will eventually increase the groundwater table, Gadkari said.
He cited an example where a university got 36 lakes and nearby villages 22 wells due to a project executed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Gadkari said such innovative measures will reduce project costs and help many others. He appealed to the ministers and officials of the Centre and States to work on minimising project costs.
The minister emphasised upon building durable roads and asked the states to go for concrete road which can last for at least 25 years. In this context, he recalled how he built 750 kilometres of concrete road in his constituency and claimed that there are no potholes there.
Gadkari also told the gathering that on his insistence, the Maharashtra government white-topped 6,000 km of roads in Mumbai. "White topping is one time investment. You may need to spend 20 per cent extra but it will last for 25 years whereas bitumen roads are cheaper but every two to three years you require maintenance," the minister said.
He also stressed upon increasing the greenery along the expressways and recommended a 'tree bank' where at least five trees should be planted for each tree felled. Gadkari asked the NHAI, Railways, ports and district authorities to become one unit to develop tree bank.
The minister also insisted upon tree transplanting instead of felling them. While emphasising upon minimising the carbon footprint through transplantation, the minister also batted for 100 per cent ethanol fuel to reduce dependence on fossil fuel.
The minister underscored the importance of an integrated approach with multi-modal transportation being at the core if India has to become a USD 5 trillion economy.
He said 90 percent of passenger traffic and 70 percent of goods traffic was on roads, and there is a need for an integrated approach where waterways, railways and airports are interlinked, and logistics parks play a critical role.
If the state governments provide land, the Ministry of Road Transport will facilitate the construction of logistics parks. He added that the construction cost has to reduce while the quality of construction has to improve substantially.
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