The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar today hailed Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari for using power effectively to carry out development. The two politicians from rival parties were sharing the dais at a function in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar.
“I am attending this function because I was told that Gadkari was going to inaugurate many projects in Ahmednagar which would solve long-pending issues of the city, and he wants me to be present,” Pawar said.
The NCP leader said that it had been observed very often that nothing happened after the foundation stone ceremony for a project, but when it comes to Gadkari’s projects, within a few days of the function, one sees the work start.
“Gadkari is a great example of how a people’s representative can work for the development of the country,” Pawar said.
“I remember that before Gadkari took over this responsibility (of the ministry of road transport and highways), about 5,000 km of work had been done. But after he took over, the figure has crossed 12,000 km,” the NCP chief said.
Gadkari, while addressing the event, said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had de-silted local rivers and streams during the execution of road projects in District Buldhana of Maharashtra.
“I suggest (Maharashtra Rural Development Minister) Hasan Mushrif to think of focusing on water conservation in Ahmednagar district,” he said.
How Gadkari works
Yesterday, Gadkari had said the NHAI was developing charging infrastructure for electric vehicles along the highways.
Addressing an event virtually, the road transport minister further said the automotive industry was going through a challenging phase due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and he is happy that it is now in a recovery mode.
“NHAI is also developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure along the highways to promote the use of electric vehicles,” he said.
Gadkari pointed out that India’s auto sector contributes 7.1% to the overall nation’s GDP and 49% of the manufacturing GDP, with an annual turnover of Rs 7.5 lakh crore and export of Rs 3.5 lakh crore.
“I am happy to note that several global brands are entering India, as well as several local entrepreneurs are setting up large facilities to mass-produce electric vehicles,” the minister said.
Gadkari said electric two-wheeler sales in the country recently stood at 13,345 units for July 2021, witnessing a massive 229% month-over-month jump and a year-over-year leap in registrations of 836%.
“This is extremely encouraging,” he noted.
According to Gadkari, there is a massive response seen in the domestic market for electric scooters from new start-ups.
The minister emphasised that simultaneously research on developing long-life, low-cost, high-efficiency batteries and EV components is also the need of the hour.
“One of the solutions to reduce pollution from existing diesel buses is the use of retrofit technologies,” he said.
Gadkari said the government was committed to making public transport and logistics switch to 100% green and clean sources of energy.
He said the national hydrogen mission launched by the prime minister sought to develop hydrogen technologies for the benefit of the mobility sector and make India the leader in the production and usage of green hydrogen.
Noting that 70% of green hydrogen production costs come from electricity costs, Gadkari said, “Hence, surplus electricity from renewable energy sources can completely change the economics of production of green hydrogen production.”
He said green hydrogen was termed as the fuel of the future and it was the only fuel that could help achieve the mission of zero carbon emissions.
The minister said the recently launched production-linked incentive scheme (PLI) aimed at boosting advanced automotive technology products in the Indian auto sector that help to lower fossil fuel emissions.
Gadkari said the government expected the scheme would lead to a fresh investment of more than Rs 42,500 crore and the creation of additional 7.5 lakh jobs in the sector.