Pointing out that high-logistics rate is affecting India’s international trade prospects, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said that the Central government was targeting the escalating cost by developing waterways and ports. Comparing logistics expense of China and European countries ranging between 8-12 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, Gadkari said India paid up to 18 per cent for the same. “This is affecting our competitiveness in the global market. Taking any material from Mumbai to London or Dubai is easy and cheaper than transporting the same from Mumbai to Delhi, he said.
Gadkari said that the government will give a very high priority to developing infrastructure, which would subsequently create employment as well as industrial development. “Through Sagar Mala project we are expecting an investment of Rs 12 lakh crores – which would include development of port to road and rail connectivity and modernisation and mechanisation of the ports. Besides, we are developing six-major ports and an investment of Rs. 8 Lakh crore will go towards 27 industrial clusters,” he said.
Reiterating the government’s commitment to develop road infrastructure across the country, Gadkari said that road-works have been expedited under his charge. “When I took charge, the road construction took place at the rate of 2 km per day, but at present it stood at 22 km/day (11 times higher). “By end of March next year the new target for the department will be 42 km per day,” Gadkari said.
In Goa, Gadkari announced that the construction of four-lane cement-concrete highway between the Mumbai-Goa state will be soon underway and upon completion in 2018 – the commuting distance between the two states will be only six-hours. Gadkari predicted that the connectivity will be a major boost to tourism in the coastal state. “The (Goa-Mumbai) road being a witness to some of the major fatal accidents, its development will also save commuters’ lives. The Central Government has decided that 10 per cent of the Central Road Fund would be mandatory reserved for the improvement of black spots across the national, state and the municipal road,” he said, adding that the government has already identified 786 black spots for developments.