MUMBAI: Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday offered a glimpse of the major plans he has to boost infrastructure in the city and Maharashtra.
Laying emphasis on water transport, the minister said talks were on with companies to persuade them to manufacture amphibian buses, catamarans and hovercrafts in Vidarbha to cut the 40% import levy. “My ministry will start trial runs of an amphibian bus ordered from a Malaysian manufacturer by JNPT in the next three months”, said Gadkari. Plans are on to set up an engine manufacturing unit for these buses near Bengaluru before they are assembled into amphibian buses at Vidarbha.
Sea planes and faster means of passenger transport like catamarans and hovercraft will not only help the people, but efforts to get international players to start manufacturing them in the country could be made under the Centre’s flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative, he said.
“The ministry is finalizing proposals on flotels (hotels on the sea) at Ferry Wharf and Marine Drive which will be five-seven star facilities,” he said.
Gadkari announced every road his ministry makes now will be in concrete to reduce repeat maintenance costs. The Mumbai-Goa Highway (NH-17) will be converted into a four-lane concrete road soon. His ministry has found a supplier near Mumbai willing to supply cement at Rs 120 per bag (excluding tax and transport) against the prevalent rate of Rs 350 per bag and advised the state authorities to only make concrete roads.