Bengaluru: The government plans to develop 2 lakh km of highways and 12 expressways across the country, said Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday.
"The Central government plans to develop 2 lakh km of highways and 12 expressways across the country with the help of state governments," he said at an industry summit on 'The Emerging New Growth Paradigm', organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.
Noting that progress in the road sector was growing at 28 km per day in this fiscal, Gadkari said the target would be 40 km per day in 2018-19.
"Our government has signed work contracts for projects valued at Rs 850,000 crore for roads, ports, shipping, water resources in the coming years," Gadkari told top executives of India Inc at the day-long event here.
In Karnataka's context, the minister said work on a new highway between Bengaluru and Mysuru at a cost of Rs 7,000 crore commenced on Saturday, and work on the Rs 16,000 crore expressway project between Bengaluru and Chennai is expected to start in early April.
For developing the Karwar port in Karnataka, the minister said the Central government would spend Rs 3,000 crore on its projects if the state government agreed to give the required land.
Advocating waterways as a means of cheaper logistical option, Gadkari said the government had called upon the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to form a joint venture to manufacture seaplanes.
"There is a need for 10,000 seaplanes over the next two years to ferry people and goods using them on waterways across the country," reiterated Gadkari in the presence of HAL Chairman T. Suvarna Raju at the summit.
Stressing on the need to check pollution, he urged the automobile sector to produce vehicles that run on electricity and alternate fuels like ethanol and methanol from agriculture waste, as conversion of waste into wealth is the future.
Admitting that water conservation was a major concern in the country, Gadkari, who is also in charge of Water Resources, said planning than its shortage was the real issue.
"Our government has decided to solve the water problems in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan by utilising water from rivers flowing into Pakistan," he noted.
The government has also introduced a scheme where water will reach farmlands using pipe system than canals, avoiding land acquisition costs to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore.
The summit also deliberated on key areas including regulatory excellence, sustainability and diversity, global shocks, carbon footprint reduction commitment, diversity, job creation, industry 4.0, new-gen technologies, future of work and next generation leadership.