Nitin Gadkari Pledges Much Improved Transport Infrastructure in India
Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways under the current BJP government, stated that his vision for amelioration of the transportation infrastructure in India is currently under way. In an interview with LiveMint, Gadkari answered several questions about “smart” infrastructure, and reassured that the vision included setting up a modern network of all-weather roads, and other integrated technologies that would put India at the forefront of a future-ready transportation network that would include both roads and inland waterways, among other things.
When asked to define his own understanding of a “smart highway”, Gadkari painted a picture of greenery being located in the immediate vicinity of the road surface, either as available on the land surrounding it, or if there were space constraints, to be set up as “vertical gardens”. Other positives would be the extensive use of solar technology for power needs of the various systems that would make using this infrastructure more convenient for users, such as signs indicating status of roads, or the toll booths that would operate. He said that it was his hope that a smart highway would do away with traffic lights, enabling a faster, safer and much smoother journey from point to point.
Asked about what it would cost to go “smart” with infrastructure, he brushed aside the need for funding by saying, “There is no dearth of money and I can raise as much money as required.” Gadkari, said that after he took over this position and began to oversee things, the rate of highway construction has nearly doubled to 27 km per day, from the 14 km per day where he found it at. He added that several projects were taking place simultaneously and that while the overall pace was currently slow, he hoped that it would improve in the coming years.