Road, port sectors to create over 50 lakh jobs in 5 years: Nitin Gadkari

New Delhi(PTI): Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said that roads and ports sectors will create over 50 lakh jobs in the next five years and contribute nearly two% to the country’s GDP.

Nitin Gadkari

“Since the time I have taken charge, the number of projects undertaken have risen. We have taken various initiatives in port development, waterways and road projects.

I expect these sectors will contribute nearly 2% to the GDP in the next five years,” Gadkari, who is the surface transport and shipping ministers, said in a select media briefing.

He said his ministries intends to create nearly 50 lakh jobs over the period.

Talking about the progress made in the road sector, he said of the 283 stalled projects, 44 have been terminated and of these remaining, nearly 90-95% of the issues are resolved.

He said the government intends to award 100 projects on public private partnership (PPP) basis next fiscal.

“We are seeing an improvement in investor sentiment and interest from both domestic and international players in investing in the country’s infrastructure projects. We have awarded nine projects in this year so far and by March end it will increase to up to 15 projects. Our target is to award 100 projects on PPP basis,” he said.

He also said the government has also undertaken steps to award projects under the hybrid model, where 40% cost will be borne by the government while 60% will be funded by the developers.

Of the 60% banks will provide 30% of the requirement, he said.

About Delhi-Jaipur Highway, he said the Rs 1,700 crore project will be completed by December this year as 85% of the long-delayed project is completed while problems related to Delhi-Haridwar and Ranchi-Jamshedpur highways were being addressed.

Gadkari said his ministry has no dearth of resources but was lacking on two fronts – shortage of contractors and capacity constraints.

He also said the Centre will spend around Rs 5,000 crore over the next five years for plantation, beautification and modernisation along the highways.

The BJP leader from Nagpur further said the work on the 1,620 km stretch between Varanasi and Haldia under the clean Ganga mission will start by this year-end.

“We have already acquired the land near the banks of Varanasi and Haldia. We hope to start the dredging work by December end,” Gadkari added.

On the spurt in prices for pulses, Gadkari said economic policies do not have a bearing on the rate of politically sensitive commodities like dal or onions.

He regretted the Government went in for a smaller quantity of imports earlier this year, but expressed confidence that dal prices will correct once the new harvest comes into the market in December.

We need to establish irradiation technology-based storage units for onions and increase the dal warehousing to protect these commodities from price shocks, he said.

On the Supreme Court ruling on National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), Gadkari sided with his party colleague Arun Jaitley in expressing reservations on the sensitive subject.

Clarifying that the law passed by the BJP Government with support from all political parties did give a major say to the judiciary in appointment of judges, he said in a democracy Parliament is the supreme body.

Early this month, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the NJAC Act passed by the NDA Government last year.

Gadkari said “we need to embrace both modernism as well as traditional Indian values”, but rued that looking down upon our legacy has become a part of “modern thinking”.

Highlighting Government’s achievements like push in economic growth and curbing inflation, he said NDA’s 18-month- old administration has delivered more as compared with the 10 years of Congress-led UPA rule.

It is very difficult to fully satisfy a person’s wishes, the Union Minister said, adding the Modi Government has taken all the right decisions and will do more in the remainder of its tenure.

Gadkari said individual ambitions have resulted in a decline in standards of politics.