Pune: At this point of time when private transport network has increased phenomenally, therefore clogging city roads and highways, the centre has decided to push public transport, pointed out Union minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari.
Gadkari was on Pune to be a part of the golden jubilee celebrations of Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) and the national seminar on ‘Safe and Sustainable Public Transport’ organised at CIRT.
The statement made by Gadkari came at a time when Pune’s vehicle population has touched 50 lakh. In terms of figures provided by Regional Transport Office, the vehicle population of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad had touched 50.46 lakh as on July 31.
Gadkari said that the current demand and growth of private vehicles will push us towards expanding the existing national highways by one lane every three years which is not feasible. “Hence, enhancing public transport is presently our priority,” added the minister.
Gadkari also highlighted the fact that the government was working overtime on a shift towards vehicles which run on electricity, ethanol, methanol and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) even as many automobile manufacturers are unhappy with it.
Minister stressed that there is a requirement for a mindset modification in order to address issues of traffic congestion, pollution and accidents. “At a time when the government is planning to take a leap towards Euro VI compliant fuel, many are still not ready to shift to Euro IV compliant fuel which cannot be allowed,” he added.
Further, he added, “Public transport is our priority, where we are focusing on operating buses, taxis and even two wheelers on electricity. Alternative fuel including Liquefied Natural Gas, CNG, Bio ethanol and methanol can be used which would also benefit the agriculture sector.”
Speaking on the quality of buses, Gadkari said that most public transport buses are not of expected quality and improving their standard is important.
On the occasion, Gadkari also spoke about the need to transform bus depots to bus ports, for which he said, the state government must make land available.