Vijayawada: Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday wished Andhra Pradesh to become one of the richest states by availing its natural resources like water, power, transport and communication.
He also sought its contribution to help India realise the $5 trillion economy and be the number one economic power from the present fifth position in the world.
He was addressing a public meeting after laying the foundation stone for eight road projects at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore at the Government Arts College grounds in Rajamahendravaram.
The minister stated that by availing such natural resources, AP would help attract investment and generate employment so as to eradicate poverty.
Gadkari promised AP to complete its road projects worth five lakh crore in AP by the end of 2024. “We have already taken up road projects worth Rs 2 lakh crore while more projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore were under construction in the state,” he said.
The minister also promised to sanction several road projects stretching a length of 1,124km at an estimated cost of Rs 3,050 crore in three months and listed out several projects that either got sanction or are to be given sanction. He said he would positively consider proposals for road projects stretching a length of 2,003km at a cost of Rs 50,000 crore for AP.
The minister expressed concern as to how the air, water and sound pollution were affecting the health of the people and owned the responsibility for the air pollution, he being the transport minister.
Underlining the importance of diversion of agriculture into energy, he called upon the farmers who produce foodgrains to produce energy. India was having surplus production of sugar, corn, rice and food grains but faced a shortage of edible oil that was being imported from Malaysia, he said, and asked the farmers to increase the production of palm oil and edible oils through cultivation in their farms.
He laid stress on a change of fuel in the transport sector and advocated use of bio-ethanol. “It could be produced from molasses, broken rice and from other materials so that flexible fuel vehicles can be produced, which run on 100 per cent petrol or on 100 per cent bio-ethanol to help save a lot. The cost of petrol is Rs 120 per litre while bio-ethanol is just Rs 60 per litre.”
He said several companies were coming up with such a flexible fuel system for two-wheelers to bring down air pollution and the cost of transport.
The Union minister called upon the AP government and public representatives to encourage green energy including bio-ethanol, bio-methanol, bio-CNG, bio-LNG and green hydrogen. “From waste water or toilet water, green hydrogen can be generated. In Nagpur constituency, waste water is sold to the Maharashtra government to generate power and they are getting Rs 300 crore as royalty per annum.”
The minister said that from waste water, green hydrogen could be generated as 70 per cent cost was involved in such power where solar power could be used, as it cost only Rs 2.40 per unit.
He said by using electrolyser which costs just Rs 1.20 crore, oxygen could be separated from water and hydrogen would be generated. By using a compressor which runs-on bio ethanol, green hydrogen could be developed.
Describing Rajamahendravaram and East Godavari districts as beautiful with a lot of nurseries and fishing ponds, Gadkari said when he was the minister for shipping, “we developed trawlers which could go up unto 100 nautical miles in the sea.” He advised the AP government to give such trawlers to its fishermen who could go into the sea up to 100 nautical miles from the present 10-20 nautical miles, so that their fish production can increase seven- fold.
The minister said he held Rajamahendravaram in high respect. “We are going to get 80 lakh trees of three metre height this year by paying Rs 75 per tree to the nursery farmers.
He advocated the setting up of a tree bank with permission from the Union ministry of environment and forests so that anyone who intended to cut a tree should plant 10 trees instead, and those who intend to transplant a tree need to plant five new trees, so that it would help protect ecology and environment.
The minister advocated a public transport system with electricity where modes of transport like cable car, ropeway, sky bus etc could be encouraged. To run a bus on diesel, it would cost Rs 115 per km, while on electricity, it would cost just Rs 39 per km for non-AC bus and Rs 41 per km for AC bus, he said.
Gadkari urged the AP government to introduce the public transport system on electricity in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Rajamahendravaram as it would reduce air pollution. He said that the ports were the growth engine for AP and urged the state government to use the long sea front to develop its economy. He recalled that while he functioned as ports minister, when he sanctioned permission for two ports, there was a dispute and call not to sanction the other one.
The minister said he would request the CM that, if the AP government could provide land, “we would develop a Logistics Park in the state,” and he promised to also sanction the six-lane coastal road project connecting Visakhapatnam Port and Bhogapuram as was requested by the CM....