Panaji: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Friday said that Goa can become the tourism capital of India, but at the same time the coastal state should work towards making the place pollution-free.
Gadkari was addressing the gathering after inaugurating the second lane of the parallel cable-stayed bridge on the Zuari River, laying the foundation stone for the observatory tower and viewing gallery at the new bridge and six-lane elevated corridor at Porvorim in North Goa.
Goa Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant, Union Minister of state for Road Transport and Highways V K Singh, and others were present on the occasion.
“In the time to come Goa can become a tourism capital of India. It can become an attraction for the tourists world over,” Gadkari said adding that to achieve the goal, the state should plan facilities like an international convention center and other amenities, which can come up around the new road infrastructure planned in the state.
The union minister said that Goa is an attractive tourist destination and it should be free of pollution. “The number of taxis and buses will increase when more tourists will arrive here. If these vehicles are running on diesel then the pollution will increase in the state,” he said.
The union minister suggested that the state can think of opting for alternate fuels like electric, ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, bio LNG, bio CNG and hydrogen with the introduction of new technology in the transport system.
“The government can design a scheme of making taxi operators as taxi owners by providing them electric vehicles and convert the petrol-diesel engine vehicles into electric or flex engine then Goa will be free of pollution,” he said.
Referring to the fishing industry, Gadkari said that mny fishermen are dependent on Goa and Maharashtra coastline for their livelihood.
“Our fishing boats go only up to 10 nautical miles. The new trawler costing Rs 1.25 crore has been developed, it can go up to 100 nautical miles. If fishermen opt for it, the fish production will increase by five or seven times,” he said.
The union minister also pointed out that the Detailed Project Report is ready of a projet that will connect far flung places of Mumbai to the new airport at Navi Mumbai by waterway within 17 minutes. He said that the places like Kalyan, Virar and Gateway of India can be connected to the new airport by waterways.
He requested Goa chief minister to think about connecting the new Mopa Airport with water transport. “That would also be an attraction for tourists,” he said.