Over 10,000 seaplanes would be brought into operation in the country over the next two years if the state governments were to adopt new modes of transport like waterways, union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari has said.
Speaking at the 'bhoomi pujan' ceremony of the new bridge on Versova creek that will connect Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the minister said the centre would put in place new rules and regulations for operating seaplanes in the country in the next three months.
The new bridge project worth Rs3,000 crore, will cater to the increased traffic needs on the west coast.
"Around 10,000 seaplanes would be brought into the country in the next two years. Within the next three months, rules and regulations would be put in place for (operating) seaplanes. Trials were recently taken in the sea in Mumbai. This will bring a new method of transport," Gadkari said.
"The state governments should take to new modes of transportation, including inland waterways to avoid pollution and related issues arising out of road transport," the minister added.
Gadkari said the Maharashtra government should focus on transportation through seaplanes, which will "ensure speed and avoid pollution".
"Waterways should be encouraged in the country. Now, you (Maharashtra government) should concentrate on developing waterways in Mumbai," he said.
He said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had assured him that by April this year, water transport would be introduced in and around Mumbai, Gadkari said.
Stating that the use of petrol, diesel, ethanol and methanol should be brought down, the minister announced that the Delhi-Mumbai highway would be converted into an "electric route" and the task of preparing a detailed project report (DPR) has been given to the department concerned.
"Electric vehicles will run on this highway and it will avoid pollution...Electric double decker buses would be introduced and an MoU has been signed in this regard with the Transport for London just yesterday," the minister said.
He said civic bodies should concentrate on electric transport, which will cut the cost of operations and also the fares...The other methods of transport like ropeway, cable car and funicular railway will be encouraged in the future, the minister added.
Stating that the city of Mumbai is growing exponentially, Gadkari said there was a need to introduce an integrated transport system for the metropolis.
"The situation and problems faced by Delhi would soon be faced by Mumbai in terms of pollution and traffic. The MPs, MLAs and ministers should realise the hazards and act accordingly. They should bat for cost-effective and pollution-free public transport system and develop waterways transport to overcome the perennial problems," he said.
Gadkari also said that work on 378-km-long Mumbai-Vadodara Express Highway worth Rs20,000 crore would start in the three months. "This Expressway will be even better than the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway," he said.
Container traffic problems will be eased if a logistics park comes up at Vasai-Virar, Gadkari said adding, "This will ease the container traffic at JNPT and avoid their movement by road."