New Delhi, Mar 12: The government is putting in "massive efforts" to conserve ecology that include setting up of 20 water recycling plants along the Ganga and create huge employment opportunities, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said.
"We are committed to conserving ecology. By developing waterways, we can save the environment and minimise pollution. Ganga is a subject close to people's hearts. We have started huge work on the Ganga. We are making 20 water recycling plants along the river," Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari said.
Addressing the World Cultural Festival, organised by the Art of Living Foundation here, the minister said the government has decided to use this water from recycling plants at 13 railway stations and refinery in Mathura, besides 13 power projects.
"Recycling of water will be done and used for industry... The environment issues are very important and I feel we are very much progressive and development oriented. Eradication of poverty is our mission through creation of huge jobs," Gadkari said. Parliament's nod to convert 111 rivers across the country into waterways is a "revolutionary step" and paves the way for utilisation of 35,000 km of waterways in the country for sustainable development.
Gadkari felt that harnessing waterways will minimise pollution while reducing high logistical charges, adding that apart from waterways, the government is focusing on converting "waste into wealth" and has given nod to 8 per cent plastic usage in tar for building roads.
Besides, iron ore slag is used for road construction and use of bio CNG, bio-diesel, electric and environment-friendly fuel is being promoted to cut down on huge Rs 8 lakh crore crude import bill per annum.
In Nagpur alone, the government will have 100 buses on bio-CNG and another 50 running on ethanol.
Bio-digesters, the minister said, will be used in Delhi to convert its waste into bio-fuel, stressing that completion of eastern and western bypasses along with highway projects worth Rs 30,000 crore will decongest traffic in Delhi by 50 per cent in two years while significantly reducing pollution.
"Conversion of knowledge into wealth as well as conversion of waste into wealth is our mission. By these two missions, we can make the life of people a sustainable one," Gadkari said.
He also let out that the government will soon take the length of National Highways to 2 lakh km so that it can bear 80 per cent of the total road traffic. At present, the NHs have a length of only about 1 lakh km out of a total 52 lakh km roads and carry 40 per cent of the traffic.
He said government is also spending Rs 11,000 crore to fix 767 black spots as India accounted for a huge 5 lakh road accidents per annum, in which 1.5 lakh people lost their lives while another 3 lakh were left maimed.