Panaji: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highway Nitin Gadkari on Monday suggested Goa to promote water transport, saying it holds huge potential for the coastal state.
He said Goa also has potential in the shipping segment and in medical equipment manufacturing.
Gadkari was speaking at an interactive session with industrialists under PM Gati Shakti initiative. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was also present at the event organised by state-run Goa Investment Promotion Board and Facilitation Board.
Gati Shakti is a Rs 100 lakh crore national master plan for multi-modal connectivity that aims to develop infrastructure to reduce logistic costs and boost the economy.
Gadkari said a lot of new technologies are available in the world now. Why are you (Goa government) not taking advantage of water transport? There is potential for water transport. My suggestion is to promote it. I tried my level best when I was the shipping minister, but I could not get success, he said.
There is also a lot of potential in Goa for the shipping industry, the Union minister said.
During the interaction, Gadkari gave details of the PM Gati Shakti master plan and said the government wants to complete all projects by 2024-25.
By 2025, the national highway network will be extended up to two lakh kilometers, Gadkari said.
“As far as Goa is concerned, we have sanctioned projects worth Rs 25,000 crore (under the plan),” he said.
He said a bridge over the Mandovi river in Goa has been completed, while work is underway on another bridge over the Zuari river.
Gadkari said tourism is the basic strength for Goa and if infrastructure is upgraded, the key sector will benefit immensely.
He said activities like amphibious seaplanes and water sports can be encouraged in Goa.
The Union minister said cost of logistics in India needs to be reduced for which there should be emphasis on promoting sea transport.
Presently, 90 per cent of passenger traffic and 70 per cent of (goods) transport is via the road. Our top policy priority is for waterways, second is Railways, third is road and later aviation, he said.
Gadkari said in the national interest, “we need to reduce traffic on the road”.
There is also potential for drone manufacturing in India, he said.
“We are making 350 heliports and the idea is to introduce heli-ambulances,” the minister said.
Gadkari said medical equipment manufacturing can be one of the sectors Goa can look out for.