New Delhi: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari on Friday called the urgent attention of automobile companies towards the need for an efficient public transport system in the country, run on electricity or alternate fuels.
Addressing CEOs of Indian and global automobile companies as part of MOVE: Global Mobility Summit 2018 here today, Gadkari urged them to actively think about diversifying into the public transport sector, and focus their research and innovation efforts in this direction. “Private vehicles are proliferating rapidly on Indian roads,” he said, and highways expansion cannot feasibly keep pace with this growth. “We, therefore, need to encourage people to shift to public transport, and for this we have to put in place systems that are efficient and convenient, comfortable and safe,” he added.
Gadkari further emphasised the need to bring down the huge cost of petroleum imports that the country bears, and reiterated his appeal to the automobile sector to shift to electricity or alternate fuels like ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel or hybrid. He assured the companies that the government was committed to developing all kinds of fuels – anything that brought import-substitution, was cost-effective, environment-friendly and indigenous.
The minister also appealed to the industry to explore inland waterways and coastal shipping as alternate and cheaper means of transportation. He said the ongoing Jal Marg Vikas project on River Ganga was readying the river for transport, and this route, which will link further to Brahmaputra, will make it possible to transport goods from India right up to Bangladesh and Myanmar through waterways.
He called upon automobile companies to use this route for transporting their vehicles.
CEOs/ MDs / Representatives from various Indian and global companies including TATA Motors, TATA Power, Mercedes Benz (India) , Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Honda India, Ford and Spicejet attended the Session with CEOs at the summit today. They deliberated on the challenges and opportunities that their companies faced with regard to the mobility sector in India and especially in context of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call earlier today to focus on the three C’s of Common, Connected, Convenient, Congestion-free, Charged and Cutting -edge when talking of the mobility solutions in the country.
Gadkari also chaired the session on Reinventing Public Transport at the summit today, where he appealed to stakeholders to give highest emphasis on introducing cost-effective and pollution free public transport systems based on new technology. He invited the industry to invest in water transport especially for ferrying pilgrims between Allahabad and Varanasi during Kumbh.
Road Transport and Highways Secretary Yudhvir Singh Malik underlined the need to shift concentration towards developing more public transport in intercity travel. He said, we need to substitute personal vehicles with public transport. For this public transport requires reliability, timeliness and comfort. Indicating that while highways are carrying about 40 per cent of total traffic, and highway construction has picked up speed, last mile connectivity still remains a matter of concern.
He said, there is over 10 times growth in number of vehicles in the last 25 years. Number of two-wheelers has exploded, share of cars is lesser, and that of the buses is down hugely. This has necessitated re-inventing public transport system in the country.
The two-day Global Mobility Summit has been organized by Niti Aayog in New Delhi as a platform to rethink and deliberate upon ways to move people and goods more efficiently.