vishal panwar May 27, 2021

NEW DELHI: Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday rued that good plantation works were not being undertaken along the national highways, saying not even a single highway road is perfect as far as green plantation is concerned.
Addressing a virtual event organised by IIT Tirupati, the minister also wondered how can an expert on road construction also be an expert on tree plantation.
“Mr Pandey is there, I am seeing all national highway roads. He cannot show me a single road where good plantation is there; where good species are there. Totally negligent,” Gadkari said.
It could not be immediately ascertained which official the minister was referring to.
“Already in contract, there is a plantation provision… I am confident as a minister with my verification, not a single road is a perfect as far green plantation is concerned,” Gadkari, who is known for his frank views, said.
The road transport and highways minister urged the officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to engage experts for plantation of trees along the national highways in a bid to promote green highways policy.
Regretting that good plantation work was not being undertaken along the highways, he said that the specialised work must be undertaken by persons or agencies with the requisite expertise.
“We need to take the help of people who are experts on plantation and and transplantation of trees,” he said.
This is exactly the time when policies need to be changed for that, and there will be a different agency or different system which is specialised in plantation and transplantation, Gadkari said.
“That is important for the development of green highways. This is needed for the ecology and environment of the country,” he added.
The minister in August last year had launched a mobile app ‘Harit Path’ to monitor the plantation along the national highways.
Gadkari, who is also the Union micro, small and medium enterprises minister, said the bureaucratic system does not want to accept new innovative systems.
“We need ideas, innovation and research,” he said.
Noting that people are not taking decisions at an appropriate time, he said time-bound result-oriented decision making is important.
Gadkari said that diesel should not be used in road construction.
“Using large amounts of diesel in road construction is hazardous. We should use CNG (compressed natural gas), bio-CNG or LNG (liquefied natural gas),” he suggested.
Gadkari also slammed the cement and road industry for indulging in cartelisation and exploiting people.
“Making the cartel and increasing the cost is bad. We have to cut the cost of the roads by reducing use of cement and steel,” he said.
Gadkari said that by allowing people to import bitumen (a refinery by-product used in laying the surface of roads and highways), the government can reduce the cost of road construction.

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