Asserting that he is not a "trader of dreams" but a person with a track record of "actualising" them, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said India saw awards for building 16,800 kms of roads in the last fiscal which was a world record of sorts.
Claiming that giant steps are underway to overhaul the country's infrastructure with a target for execution of works worth Rs 25 lakh crore in five years, Gadkari said projects worth Rs 6.5 lakh crore have already been awarded.
"I am not a trader of dreams rather I am a person with strong commitment who has a track record of actualising dreams which he shows.
"I am not a man of empty words and a record can be kept of the promises I make," Road Transport, Shipping and Highways Minister Gadkari said in reply to a query at the India Today Editors Roundtable here.
The country saw awards for building 16,800 kms of roads in the last fiscal which was a "world record" of sorts, he added.
Gadkari said his idea of developing a city like Davos in Auli in Uttarakhand could very well be realised as it is already a ski destination in Chamoli district and falls on the way to Badrinath.
A Rs 12,000 crore project is on for developing 900 km of National Highways in Uttarakhand for improving connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres -- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri in the Himalayas, he said.
The minister said the work on the project is likely to be completed before 2018 and work orders worth Rs 6,500 crore have already been awarded.
Besides, tough Himalayan rocks are being cut to make the pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, linked to the faith of millions of Indians, easy, he said.
Gadkari added the government is constructing a highway through Uttarakhand for Kailash-Mansarovar to make it easy for people to visit the pilgrimage place in the high altitudes which at present can be reached only through the arduous Lipulekh Pass route and Nathu La route, opened by China in 2015.
"Air Force, BRO and Defence are working on the project.
Helipad has been constructed there for MI 26 helicopters," the minister said adding that the work is on in full swing on his dream project.
Likewise, massive work is on to develop waterways, he said, adding that Rs 4,000 crore work is on to develop Varanasi-Haldia stretch of the Ganges where three multimodal hubs are being constructed.
The minister exuded confidence that the work on the Ganga project is likely to be completed by December next year.
Steps being taken to ease traffic on Indian roads
On unprecedented growth of vehicles, he admitted that automobile sector in the country is growing at the rate of 22 per cent but at the same time massive steps are on to ease the traffic on Indian roads.
He said consent from the Defence Ministry has been obtained for widening the road at Dhaula Kuan till 11 Murti.
Besides, there are projects like Metrino for 70 km Dhaula Kuan - Manesar stretch.
Work on National Highway 24 is also underway in full swing, he said, taking a dig at a section of media as well as NGOs, terming them a "microscopic community" who were opposed to any idea.
In reply to a query, he said "land acquisition is not a problem as farmers and people are coming in large numbers to offer their land for projects after enhanced compensations" and presently no project is being awarded before completing 80 per cent land acquisition.
A huge sum of Rs 25,000 crore is lying with the state governments given by the Centre for awards for land acquisition, the minister said.
On augmenting infrastructure in difficult areas, he said the Chenani-Nashri tunnel, an infrastructure marvel in Jammu and Kashmir, is one of the major achievements as this is India's longest road tunnel which has been built in record time.
Many such projects are on the anvil, including the Zojila tunnel, which has to be rebid.
The minister said there is complete transparency in the awards of projects and no fingers had been pointed at him in this regard ever.
Regretting that India accounts for one of the highest road related mortalities globally with about 5 lakh road accidents a year in which 1.
5 lakh people die and another 3 lakh are crippled, Gadkari said that he was confident that the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016, which has been passed in the Lok Sabha, will be cleared by the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming Parliament session.
The Bill, once enacted, will unleash radical reforms in the transport sector by ensuring 100 per cent e-governance, checking bogus driving licenses and vehicle thefts, slapping heavy penalty on traffic violators and protecting the good samaritans, he said.
Besides, he said 786 accident spots have been identified across the country where mishaps happen due to faulty road engineering and these are being mended at a cost of about Rs 11,000 crore.