Road Transport, Shipping and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari Monday said his shipping ministry will soon start a project to convert water bodies into water ports to boost the inland water transport system."We have started a scheme to convert water bodies into water ports. For every bridge, after studying the land, a bridge-cum-barrage project will be incorporated to boost water availability," Gadkari said while addressing the media on the initiatives taken by his ministry in the first 100 days of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government."It (Inland water transport) means less pollution, less accidents, less cost."
"Developing Inland waterways, ports is a priority. This can contribute at least two percent to GDP (gross domestic product) growth," Gadkari said. The minister further said that his ministry is encouraging the shipping industry to promote tourism and a policy framework for ship-breaking and ship-building is being evolved to make the sector more competitive. On the transport sector, the minister said bus ports will be constructed which will have all the amenities found at an airports. He added that this shall be done under the build operate and transfer (BOT) model of public-private partnership (PPP) mode of infrastructure development.
Regarding the move to expedite road construction, the minister pointed that the country has the world's second largest road network and the objective is to achieve a target of developing 30 km of road construction per day."The objective is to restore confidence of developers, contractors through fund circulation in the sector," he said Observing that expeditious resolution of disputes and settlement of claims is significant for timely implementation of projects, Gadkari said a new dispute resolution mechanism is being implemented for hastening of road projects."A three-stage dispute resolution mechanism has been made operational at NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) to expedite the process for one-time dispute settlement."