Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari Saturday said that there is a need for positive development-oriented approach amongst the Goan population to develop the state or else he will not shy away from taking the projects to other states.
“We are serious about development of Goa. From our own department, we have budget worth crores for roads and ports infrastructure. We are interested in expanding the ports but people are not interested in Goa, so I decided to go to Karnataka and Maharashtra. If you want, we will develop them. If you are not okay, we won’t hesitate to go to other states,” said Gadkari while speaking at the annual general meeting of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), which was held at Dona Paula.
He said that the government has enough money to carry out development work. “However, there is a microscopic minority, which is anti-development and is proving to be an obstacle in the development of the state,” he said.
“We have sanctioned Rs 600 crore for four-laning of road from the National Highway 17 to the Mopa airport. I asked my official whether it is possible to use a river like Zuari or any other river to develop waterways up to the airport. He said we are working on it and it is possible. But your system in Goa has been not giving permission for
one-and-a-half year, thanks to your Captain of Ports. We have sanctioned Rs 40 crore to carry out dredging in Zuari and Mandovi rivers, but there are apprehensions in certain minds that we are going to take the rivers to Delhi,” he said.
Gadkari said that as Goa is sensitive from the environment point of view, the state should have transport based on electricity, ethanol, biodiesel, methanol and bio-CNG, as these are the fuels of the future. He said even ships can be run on these fuels. “Initially we should have all buses in Goa running on biofuel or electricity,” he said. Gadkari said that his ministry would soon come up with a policy to build electric highway on which double-decker buses will ply.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr V K Saraswat, a member of the NITI Aayog said, “Innovation is important if you want ecotourism and if you want the state to flourish and have economy and sustainability together. Even for smart city project, there is a need to have new business and smart infrastructure with new technology.”
Outgoing president of GCCI Narayan Bandekar said that the demand to review all proposals cleared by the Investment Promotion Board (IPB) is a matter for concern and that it would send the wrong message to investors leading to them shying away from investing in Goa.
“If all proposals cleared by the IPB are subject to fresh scrutiny, I am sure no investor will label Goa as a favourable destination. I hope the Chief Minister will not allow the mimicry of a few to harm the long term interest of the state,” he said.
Bandekar said that Goa ranked 21st among the state in the ease of doing business after which the GCCI carried out a study to identify the loopholes and prepared a report, which has been submitted to the government.
The IPB has cleared 150 project proposals with investment worth around Rs 11,500 crore with a potential to create around 25,000 jobs.
“On the ground, many projects cleared by the IPB are still awaiting various clearances including allocation of power and this is delaying the implementation and that is a major cause of worry,” said Bandekar.
Meanwhile, Sandip Bhandare has been elected as the new GCCI president.