Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari, while batting for alternative fuels, said on Thursday that soon the government will come up with a proposal to replace the blaring vehicle horns with melodious Indian tunes.
In Mumbai to launch Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST)’s new air-conditioned double-decker electric buses which are also the country’s first, Gadkari said, “Steps will be taken soon by the Ministry of Roads and Transport in this regard so that noise pollution on the roads will be reduced and instead of blaring horns there will be melodious music by Indian instruments coming from the vehicles.” He said e-vehicles are cost-effective when compared to diesel ones.
Gadkari, along with Shinde, Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar, BMC commissioner I S Chahal, and BEST general manager Lokesh Chandra, inaugurated BEST’s new buses, BEST premium bus services, and a mobile application for street light management system on the 75th anniversary of BEST.
Gadkari also advised BEST to electrify all buses so that its losses are covered soon. “The government should think about using hydrogen. Flex engine trains have started. Also, the car on ethanol will be launched next week. Most of these cars are manufactured in Maharashtra. If taxis and auto-rickshaws in Mumbai run on electricity or flex engines, it will help reduce pollution. This will also bring travel cost down,” he said, adding that Maharashtra should take the initiative for electricity, ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bioCNG and green hydrogen.
“Maharashtra should send proposals for ropeway, cable car, funicular railway. As many as 165 such schemes have been approved across the country. A double-decker bus that runs on water and in the air can be started in Mumbai by putting a ropeway peeler from Nariman Point in Mumbai, like in the Philippines.
“When I was a minister in Maharashtra, I built more than 55 flyovers in Mumbai but today, they are falling short. I feel I made a mistake then, I should have built double- or triple-layer flyovers. I request Shinde ji to build a three-storey flyover in Mumbai,” he said.
Gadkari also said that just as all types of bus facilities are being provided in the city, BEST should also work on a water taxi that can reach the new airport by sea in 17 minutes. “Necessary approval will be taken from the government,” he said. While speaking about the under-construction Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, Gadkari said he wanted to enable motorists to reach Delhi in just 12 hours from Nariman Point. He said that 70 per cent of the highway work has been completed.
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The Union Minister also requested the Maharashtra government give exemption to GST on cement and iron used for the construction of Versova-Virar sealink in Maharashtra that will connect the expressway enabling the traffic to cross go out of the northern suburbs of the city. Shinde assured Gadkari that his government will do the needful.
He also instructed BEST that discounted bus passes, which are currently given only to SSC and HSC students, be extended to college students as well.