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New Delhi : Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari, on November 4, 2017, reiterated the Government’s commitment for  providing world class transport and logistics infrastructure in the country to support the growth of economic activity. He  was addressing a session on ‘Opportunity in Infrastructure, Logistics Technology and Equipment’ at the World Food India (WFI) 2017 conference in New Delhi.

Gadkari informed that the rate of construction of National Highways has gathered considerable momentum.  The country had just 96,000 km of NH three years back, but this has grown to nearly 1.7 lakh km, and will soon reach a length of 2 lakh km. This will provide access to farmers in remote areas to markets for their produce, according to a PIB release.

The Minister said that  44 Economic Corridors and 24 Multi Modal Logistics Parks have been planned under the Government’s flagship programme Bharatmala. These are being planned on the hub and spoke model to facilitate efficient movement of freight along routes of economic importance. The Multi Modal Logistics Parks are being planned as centres of freight aggregation with warehousing, cold storage and other such facilities. These parks will be built on NH outside cities, so they will help reduce traffic congestion and also reduce pollution, Gadkari said, according to the PIB release. He informed that work has already begun for setting up Logistics Parks at Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Surat and Guwahati.

Gadkari also said that the Sagarmala Programme of the Shipping Ministry will also be contributing to the growth of the country’s food economy in a big way. Fourteen Coastal Economic Zones have been planned under this programme. Two mega food   processing parks are being planned at Kakinada and Satara at a cost of Rs 140 crore. Support is being given to fishermen under the programme to develop their skills and raise their productivity. Facility for processing, grading and packaging of fish will be developed at Paradeep Port. In addition to this, 111 waterways are being developed as National Waterways. River Ganga, Brahmaputra, Barak are already under development, he said.

Gadkari informed that the government is also giving priority to developing micro or drip irrigation in the water deficient regions of the country. Thirteen river linking projects are also on the anvil of which three will be done within three months.

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