Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari exhorted engineers and industry professionals to work towards taking Indian infrastructure to world standards. He said ‘I have decided to make Indian road infrastructure, even in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, up to the road infrastructure standards of the USA, before the end of 2024’. The Minister was addressing the National Conference for Civil Engineers and Professionals from Allied Industries, organised by the Association of Consulting Civil Engineers (ACCE) in Mumbai.
The Minister added that India has huge potential in infrastructure, for road construction, river connectivity, solid and liquid waste management, parking plaza, irrigation, busports, ropeways and cable car projects. Speaking about various ongoing projects of the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, Shri Gadkari said: “We are making 26 Green Express Highways and Logistics parks of Rs. 2 lakh crores. At the same time, we have many innovative ideas through which we can develop infrastructure further”.
The Union Transport Minister also advocated the need to switch to greener alternatives in road construction. “You should find alternatives to cement and other raw materials. Glass fibre steel can be used in place of steel. If there is competition, the cost will come down and become reasonable.” Shri Gadkari added that green hydrogen is the future fuel as it can be made from petroleum, coal and biomass, organic waste and sewage water. “My dream is to make green hydrogen available at $1/kg which can be used in aviation, railway, bus, truck, chemical and fertiliser industry instead of coal and petroleum,” he said.
Reiterating his idea of creating wealth from waste, Shri Gadkari said: ‘In Nagpur, we are recycling sewage water and selling it to the state government for power projects, which is earning us Rs. 300 crore royalty per year from sewage water. In India, there is a huge potential of Rs. 5 lakh crore in solid and liquid waste management.”
Citing the examples of Mumbai Pune Expressway and Worli Bandra Sealink to illustrate leveraging capital markets for public infrastructure projects, Shri Gadkari said: “Under InvIT, our idea is to take money from poor people and give them 7%-8% monthly return on their money. We have decided to go to the capital markets, we will sell shares of maximum Rs. 10 lakh to one person, they will invest and we can raise resources,” he said.
Shri Gadkari informed that 70% of the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway has already been completed. He said, “My dream is to take citizens from Nariman Point, Mumbai to Delhi in 12 hours; we are now working to connect Nariman Point.”