Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said all the roads in the country would be converted into cement-concrete ones to ensure their stability and durability. “In Mumbai, the cement concrete roads built 20 years ago are still in a good shape. But some political leaders, bureaucrats and contractors do not wish that such roads should be constructed in Mumbai,” Gadkari said last night at an event in Vashi in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.
“These people feel that tarred roads should be made and potholes should surface on them from time to time,” said. “All the roads in the country would be converted into cement concrete ones. And I guarantee that they will last for 200 years,” he added.
The minister was speaking while inaugurating ‘Prawaas 2017′ – India International Bus and Car Travel Show.’ Views of Gadkari, a former Public Works Department Minister of Maharashtra, comes in the backdrop of public outcry over the poor state of roads in Mumbai and its suburbs.
Recently, popular radio jockey Malishka Mendonsa incurred the wrath of the Shiv Sena, which controls Mumbai’s civic body, for a satirical song on pothole ridden-Mumbai roads. Gadkari also expressed confidence that the Motor Bill would be passed in the Parliament. The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017, passed by the Lok Sabha last year is yet to be passed by the Rajya Sabha.
The bill is aimed at steeply enhancing the fine for traffic violations, providing for compensation of Rs 5 lakh for grave injuries and cracking down on bogus licenses and vehicle thefts. Gadkari said some states fear that the Centre would grab their power if the legislation was passed but there was no basis for such apprehensions.
According to Gadkari, the country is short of around 22 lakh drivers and so 2,000 training centres are being set up to make up the deficiency. He said drivers’ cabins of trucks and buses should be air-conditioned but the manufacturers do not make such vehicles citing the increase in cost. “When the temperature rises to 48 degrees Celsius and the drivers operate for 12 hours, this is absolutely essential to increase their capacity,” Gadkari added.