Water crisis: Construction of highways can create lakes, says Nitin Gadkari

Water crisis: Construction of highways can create lakes, says Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highway Nitin Gadkari on Thursday (September 8) said his ministry can address the water woes faced in parts of the country.

Gadkari emphasised on collaboration amongst all stakeholders for qualitative reforms. He said all the stakeholders should understand each other’s issues and with mutual consent focus on planning futuristic policies so that the country’s transport is run on the fuel made in India only.

The minister emphasised on qualitative contribution and vision for creating new things for making India the foremost developed country.

Also read: Seat belts to be mandatory for passengers in back seats soon: Gadkari

Mission Amrit Sarovar

“You all know that the Centre has come up with the Amrit Sarovar scheme. The road, transport and highway ministry can do great work in addressing the water woes,” he said during the Manthan programme under the Bharatmala series in Bengaluru.

The Mission Amrit Sarovar was launched on National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24, 2022 as a part of celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav with an objective to conserve water for the future.

The Mission, launched by the Ministry of Rural Development, is aimed at developing and rejuvenating 75 water bodies in each district of the country.

Ministers and officials from the Centre and states are participating in the two-day event, themed on Ideas to Action-Towards a smart, sustainable road infra, mobility and logistics ecosystem.

Noting that he comes from the Vidarbha region where thousands of farmers had committed suicide over the years, Gadkari said one of the reasons for the agrarian crisis was water scarcity.

Also read: Gadkari bats for qualitative reforms in functioning of local self-government bodies

“There is a water crisis in many places. There is no dearth of water but water management (is an issue). We can use our highways for building lakes,” the minister said.

He said the building of highways requires soil, which can be obtained in a manner that new water bodies can be formed.

“This will not only fulfill the road construction requirement but also provide new lakes in rural areas, which will eventually increase the groundwater table,” Gadkari said.

He cited an example where a university got 36 lakes and nearby villages 22 wells due to a project executed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

‘Tree Bank’ project

Gadkari said such innovative measures will reduce project costs and help many others.

He appealed to the ministers and officials of the Centre and States to work on minimising project costs.

Talking about a sustainable approach, Gadkari said the ministry, along with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has come up with a ‘Tree Bank’ project wherein the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will be planting trees along the highways, thus expanding the green coverage.

Also read: I am the father of Expressway Toll in India, says Nitin Gadkari

The ministry has bought over 80 lakh trees, and this should help the environment with the trees absorbing carbon dioxide. As a result, India’s ranking in green coverage has already gone up.

Calling for collaboration between states and the Centre, the minister said only six states had signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the ₹16,000 crore remotely operated vehicles project. The states need to take ownership as it will ultimately benefit them.

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