Transport minister Nitin Gadkari addresses a press conference at YB Chavan Centre on Thursday
Union minister for road transports and highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said a comprehensive toll policy would be introduced in a month’s time.Addressing a press conference at Yashwantrao Chavan Centre in Mumbai, Gadkari said a study was underway for the last two months in this regard. He said the new policy, which would be brought in after due approval from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the union cabinet, would take care of all issues pertaining to tolls.The minister informed that the country had 49,00,000 km of road length out of which 93,000 km was national highway. Talking on the traffic and road accidents, he said these roads witness 40 per cent of the total traffic and as many as five lakh accidents in which 1.5 lakh people die and an equal number gets injured every year. The Modi government was determined to bring down these numbers by 50% in the next two years, Gadkari added.Stressing the need for electronic toll collection, the minister said out of the 350 toll points on the Mumbai-Delhi route, 140 had been converted into e-toll points. With the completion of the e-toll work in the country, an amount of Rs88,000 crore would be saved, he revealed.Citing a Transport Corporation of India-IIM Kolkata study that said Rs60,000 crore was lost on account of various delays at check posts, Gadkari said electronic toll collection could save Rs88,000 crore, taking into account fuel wasted at toll points. He told that the central government would make available the e-platform to the Maharashtra government so that the same can be started on state highways.Allaying fears that the excess land of Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) would be sold to builders, Gadkari said the South Mumbai traffic congestion would be reduced by discontinuing cargo movement of coal and iron ore from MPT. Since 56% of the revenue was earned through liquid terminals of MPT, it would be continued, he said, adding that water transport option would be explored by harnessing Vijaydurg and Revas-Karanja. The minister informed that the government intended to provide for two Flotels (floating hotels) in Mumbai – one 7-star and the other 5-star at Bhaucha Dhakka and Marine Lines, respectively.Gadkari made it clear that his Government would build 30 km of road per day in next two years as against the previous UPA government’s average of just 1 km per day. He informed that all the national highways, including the Mumbai-Goa one, would be made of concrete. Maharashtra alone would get national highway projects worth Rs70,000 crore, which would include Mumbai-Goa and Wardha-Yavatmal highways, Gadkari said.
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