After award of a record Rs 4.5 lakh crore contracts in the highways sector, a multi-modal transport planning comprising airports, railways, bus stations and waterways will be implemented in a big way, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday.
"We broke all records in highways...We have awarded contracts worth Rs 4.5 lakh crore so far. We will be awarding contracts for 15,000 km of highways by March taking the highways building pace to 30 km from 20 km a day in December,"Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister said addressing media.
He said 15 per cent rise in budget allocation for highways was a welcome step and for the first time Budget has made a provision for multi-modal transport hubs which will comprise air, rail, surface and water transports.
The country needs to adopt a holistic and integrated multi-modal transport planning for the sector including roads, railways, waterways and airways to reduce traffic congestion, bring down pollution and make the overall movement of passengers and goods more efficient and cost effective.
The Minister pointed out that in most cities, bus stations, airports and railway stations are situated at quite a far distance from each other and if these are properly integrated, a lot traffic congestion and pollution can be reduced.
The government is committed to set up multi-modal hubs where all modes of transport -- air, road, rail and waterways wherever possible -- are within close proximity to each other. Besides this, latest technology for electricity basedMass Rapid Transport like the metrino and hyperloop will beset up.
Talking about the Shipping sector Gadkari said that Sagarmala is all set to be a game changer with its stress on port-led development.
The programme will create 1 crore jobs, including 40 lakh direct and 60 lakh indirect ones, he said, adding ports are being mechanised and modernised.
He said waterways are also being developed in a big way and 111 rivers would be developed as National Waterwaysbesides promoting coastal shipping along the country's 7,500km of coastline.
Ro-Ro services are being launched to cut down travel time and distance and cruise services are being brought in to carry both goods and passengers. The agenda of the Ministry is to harness the full potential of the maritime sector through its Sagarmalaprogramme, he said.