New Delhi: Accelerating road construction to 30 km a day by 2016 from 3 km at present and eliminating bogus driving licences are top on the agenda of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Framing of a new Bill to convert any river to waterways also features in the high priority list of the Minister.
"Two years from now, we will take up road construction pace to 30 km a day from existing 3 km a day. A detailed project report (DPR) for 50,000 km projects would be ready within a year," Gadkari said addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here today.
A large number of bottlenecks like railway clearances for over-bridges have been removed while efforts are on to facilitate faster green approvals to increase the construction pace by 10-fold in the next two years, he said.
He further said that road designs were faulty were responsible for about 1.5 lakh deaths in accidents in a year( total number of deaths in road accidents is estimated at about 5 lakh). The Ministry is making efforts to correct these flaws.
"As high as 30 per cent driving licences are bogus in the country. All these drawbacks will be removed with the passage of the new Motor Bill. It will be my endeavour to get the Bill passed in the upcoming session after the Cabinet approval," he said.
He indicated that the public-private partnership (PPP) model was being put on the back burner at present as private players were reluctant to come forward due to equity crunch and other issues.
At present, 2,000 km of roads are being built at a cost of about Rs 40,000 crore on EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) mode.
He said interest rate in India is high and his Ministry has approached the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India to cut the rates.
At the same time with 100 per cent FDI in infrastructure, the Ministry was eyeing "capital from abroad and contractors from country" for road projects.
He said the electronic toll system will be operational pan-India soon and this will result in savings to the tune of Rs 86,000 crore per annum. An IIM Kolkata study has found that waiting at toll plazas resulted in fuel loss worth Rs 60,000 per annum while loss to truckers was estimated at Rs 26,000 per annum.
He said concrete roads will be built, which will be maintenance-free for 100 years, and 2,000 amenities for commuters and drivers would be constructed along highways. With a hoard of projects, in five years span, 15 lakh jobs will be created in highways sector alone, he said.
On vehicle design, he said, companies will have to maintain global standards.
Gadkari stressed that his government's focus was to promote waterways, which was an easy way of transporting goods and a new Bill will be framed soon to enable converting any river into the country into a waterways as India at present has only five waterways.
"My government will accord highest priority to waterways," he said.