The Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways & Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Nitin Gadkari has said that construction cost should be reduced by 25 per cent in a mission mode and new technologies were required to achieve this goal. The minister made this observation while addressing a meeting to review the New Green Highways Policy (Plantation) and to discuss the use of new technologies in road construction through video conference on Friday.
He added that specific locations like hill areas, border areas and coastal areas needed different approaches and technologies. He appreciated the use of such technology in road construction in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and motivated National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corp. Ltd (NHIDCL) to follow the example in the rest of the projects.
The minister launched ‘Harit Path’, a mobile app to monitor the plantations through geo-tagging and web-based geographic information system (GIS)-enabled monitoring tools. The app has been developed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to monitor location, growth, species details, maintenance activities, targets and achievements of each of its field units for each plant under all plantation projects.
Gadkari suggested hiring specialist persons and agencies for tree plantation along highways. He suggested involving non-governmental organisations (NGOs), self-help groups and horticulture and forest department in the exercise. The officials assured that they will be able to achieve the goal of 100 per cent plantation on highways by March 2022.
While discussing the issue of transplantation of trees, Gadkari said that it should be our mission to protect trees from being cut and specialised agencies equipped with new technologies should be hired for the purpose. The minister stressed upon using local indigenous material like jute, coir, etc., for strengthening purposes.