The government is working on developing electric highways powered by solar energy, that will facilitate the charging of heavy duty trucks and buses, Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
Addressing an event organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Gadkari reiterated that the government wants to develop India’s public transport system on electricity. “The government is strongly encouraging solar and wind energy-based charging mechanisms for electric mobility.
“We are also working on developing electric highways, which will be powered by solar energy and this will facilitate charging of heavy duty trucks and buses while running,” he said. An electric highway generally refers to a road which supplies power to vehicles travelling on it, including through overhead power lines. Gadkari said that the government is also encouraging toll plazas to be powered by solar energy.
The minister said the road ministry has conducted route optimisation exercises across major corridors and has designed a newer alignment. Emphasising that a well developed infrastructure enhances economic activities, creates new businesses and promotes job creation, Gadkari said, “We are constructing 26 greenfield expressways.” With the launch of PM Gati Shakti Master Plan, he said projects will get faster clearance and it would cut down logistic costs.
Stating that both India and the US are natural partners, the minister invited the US private investors to invest in India’s logistics, ropeways and cable car sectors. He informed that around 3 crore trees would be planted along the national highways and the government is adopting tree plantation practices while construction and expansion of highways. “And till now we have successfully transplanted 27,000 trees in national highways projects,” he said
According to Gadkari, the government is formulating a new policy called ‘Tree Bank’ for tree cutting and tree plantation. As per policy, authorities such as National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) will have to maintain a tree bank account of planting trees during the project development.