For any nation, four things are crucial – water, power, transport and communications. They provide impetus to industry and agriculture, which leads to employment generation and rise in growth rate. When I was a minister of Maharashtra state, I had kept in my office a statement of President John Kennedy – American roads are good not because America is rich, but America is rich because American roads are good. Roads catalyse economic activity, investment, employment and land value goes up, there is planning for townships, industrial parks and this is why roads are vital for national progress.
• In water transport, under Sagarmala, we aim to harness the 7,500 km sea front that our nation has been blessed with. We have 12 major ports and will build six more, along with 200 private and minor ports. We will link 111 rivers, of length around 20,000 km, and convert them into river ways. The total outlay of Rs 16 lakh crore includes Rs 4-5 lakh crore budget for modernisation, port mechanisation, port road connectivity and port rail connectivity. We have plans for our own railway, wherein a separate corporation will have a budget of Rs 1 lakh crore. We will build a line from Indore to Manmad and link Kasara directly to the JNPT. In Orissa, we are building a Talcher-Paradip line.
• In Maharashtra, we are creating four dry ports. Here again the railway connectivity and station will be our responsibility. We aim for all consignments from Gujarat to be offloaded at Bhayander, where we will create a minor port, and go to JNPT via barges. This will ease the Vasai bridge congestion. We are actively pursuing SEZ at JNPT, which would provide employment to 1.24-1.5 lakh people. Read More…
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