Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 23
Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday that it would be possible to travel from Delhi to Kolkata through a national waterway in the near future.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha during a debate on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was passed by a voice vote, Gadkari said a DPR for developing a Delhi-Agra-Prayagraj water route had been prepared.
People can travel from Delhi to Agra and from Agra to Prayagraj on Yamuna and further to Varansi and Haldia (which are connected with the National Waterway-1).
“One day you will go from Delhi to Kolkata (on waterway), you (Opposition parties) can say I am selling dreams but I will not say anything that cannot be fulfilled,” he said in the Lok Sabha.
While speaking on the merits of the Bill and new technology and innovations in the transport sector Gadkari also spoke of “flying double-decker buses” which, he said, would be ideal for a city like Chandigarh
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha gave its nod to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to weed out corruption, improve road safety and usher in use of technology to regulate traffic. To ally Opposition’s reservations to the Bill, he assured rights of the states would be respected and upheld. While members cutting across party lines supported safety and traffic violation aspects of the Bill, they also accused the Centre of trying to take away state’s powers with certain provisions of the draft law.
Several amendments moved by Opposition members were rejected by a voice vote.
Gadkari said he was not there “to show any dream” but fulfil promises made on better, smoother roads and latest transport technology. He also admitted that his department had struggled to reduce the number of road accidents in the past five years and with the legislation in place it would be possible to bring down the number of people dying on the roads
“It is sad that India is on top in the number of deaths due to road accidents. Even after making full efforts from my side, deaths have only come down by three to four percent. I have failed in it, I accept it,” he said
According to government data the number of fatalities has risen from 1.37 lakh in 2013 to 1.48 lakh in 2017. As a signatory to the 2015 Brasilia Declaration, a global conference on road safety sponsored by the World Health Organisation, India has committed itself to reducing the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020.
Provisions of the Bill also include increase in fines for drunk driving.