New Delhi, Sep 2: The government is committed to adding about 50,000 km of National Highways by the year end to take their length to 1.5 lakh km to "transform the face of India's infrastructure", Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today said.
"We are committed to overhauling the country's infrastructure. In three months from now, we will take the length of National Highways to 1.5 lakh km," Gadkari said while addressing the SIAM annual convention.
Besides, 10,000 km of highways would be widened to four lanes from two lanes in two years, Gadkari said, adding that it was the government's seriousness to augment infrastructure that the road building pace has been brought to 14 km a day, from a mere 2 km.
Also, he said the work on the government's ambitious Rs 4,000-crore 'Metrino' public transport project, which will enable people to travel in driverless pods suspended to a ropeway in the national capital region, will start in a month.
"The detailed project report for the Metrino project that will connect the 70-km stretch from Dhaula Kuan to Manesar in Haryana has been given. The scientific study has been done. The work on it is likely to start in a month," Gadkari added.
The cost of Metrino comes to barely Rs 50 crore a km compared with Rs 350 crore a km for the metro, he said, hoping that the project will ease traffic situation in Delhi.
Under the project, fully automatic, driverless small pods would travel independently suspended over an overhead network, which is usually 510 meters above ground.
Additionally, as an eco-friendly measure, ISRO in collaboration with the Road Ministry is developing cost-effective lithium-ion batteries that will power electric buses in Delhi. The government has plans to run at least 15 electric buses driven by economically viable battery technology within six months.
Thanks to a slew of steps by the government, the Minister said, things in the highways sector have started "looking up" and recently, 9 projects were awarded on a PPP model as against only 3 last year.
Of the stuck projects worth Rs 3.8 lakh crore, a majority have been rolled out and problems related to projects worth about Rs 60,000 crore are being addressed, he said, adding efforts are on to boost water transport in the country.