Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s visit opens new vistas of cooperation with the US in the field of infrastructure building and traffic management
Dilip Chaware in US
In Washington, DC, Shri Gadkari liaised with top members of the Obama administration. In New York City, he had prolonged discussions with business leaders and studied its transportation authority’s working. In New Jersey, he mingled freely with the general public in an audience liberally sprinkled with a bevy of achievers from diverse fields. Shri Gadkari returns to Bharat after visiting the West Coast of the US after a week-long US visit. Even in most conservative terms, the visit must be described as a great success since it is expected to materialize in huge investments and latest technologies arriving in Bharat soon, especially in the sectors connected with infrastructure development.
In his address at the sprawling Royal Albert Hall, Shri Gadkari analysed the ideologies that did hamper Bharat’s growth. In this detailed explanation, he said the Soviet-inspired model of growth, adopted by Pandit Nehru, totally failed to inspire growth. The economic situation went on deteriorating in the 65-year Congress rule. The second ideology, Socialism, also had an opportunity to administer the economy but that also failed. The third was the Swatantra Party’s line of capitalism. It was not accepted by the nation. The fourth, the Communism, had a prolonged tenure in states like West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala. That also was unsuccessful in bringing about any economic transformation.
Shri Gadkari then described his China visit, which took place when he was president of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was told by Chinese Communist party officials that they had given up the Communist model. Although China has adopted the US model of liberal economy, that country has not succeeded in dispensing the benefits of development to its populace. Therefore, the challenge before the Modi government was which philosophy to adopt, he said.
In this connection, Shri Gadkari recalled a prophecy made by veteran RSS leader Dattopant Thengdi over half a century ago. Shri Thengdi had predicted that Communist would die its natural death in the countries where it was born. “See what is happening in Russia and China today,” he quipped and saluted Thengdi’s prediction.
Shri Gadkari said, “We had to take a decision about our policies when we came to power. We belong to a different ideology. With a thumping majority in the Lok Sabha, we have a chance to implement our ideas. Can we give a new direction to our nation, we discussed. We are aware that we have a poor people but we are a rich nation. Our people are doing outstanding work in many countries around the world. We hate a family rule. We are a party of workers. The BJP does not belong to any particular family or individual. We are based on pure nationalism and ideology.”
Describing the slogan that the BJP is a party with a difference, Shri Gadkari said the BJP ideology has three pillars. The first is nationalism, the second is good governance for development and thirdly, our deity is the poor, the downtrodden, the exploited and the deprived human being. Providing then with food, shelter and clothing is our topmost priority. Our party manifesto is based on these three pillars. We are working accordingly.”
Shri Gadkari highlighted the immense investment opportunities offered by Bharat for US investors. He announced that Bharat would be needing about one trillion dollars for infrastructure development as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the country's infrastructure development a top priority of the government. Referring to a roundtable organised by the US-India Business Council in Washington DC on his arrival, he said, “We are committed to improving the national highways and port connectivity in a time-bound manner, with no place for corruption. Our working is totally transparent, based on e-governance and fast-tracking decisions,” Shri Gadkari had a meeting with US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. He said road safety was his first priority as around five lakh accidents take place in Bharat every year, taking nearly 1.5 lakh lives. He revealed that the US would share the manuals of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for bringing standardisation of codes and greater safety.
Shri Gadkari spoke elaborately on the new highways under construction in the country, the financing mechanisms under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, structuring policies for logistics parks, modernisation of important roads, building intelligent traffic systems for road safety and further innovation and technology to Bharat’s logistics sector. Shri Gadkari said he was looking at around 150 billion dollars of investments for the highways sector in the next five years. He also explained in great details the work being done in the shipping, ports and waterway development sectors under his command.
Shri Gadkari’s 90-minute presence at the Royal Albert Hall, New Jersey, was quite inspiring for the audience which was brimming with its affection and concern for Bharat. The audience comprised of the elite and the commoners, with each of those present transfixed by his mastery of the topic, his cascading oratory and his amazing memory since he did not refer to any notes even once in his hour-long address.
Shri Gadkari gave an example of how the government was working. He said the Delhi Ring Road project was stalled for a long time for no other reason that the delays caused in taking a decision. After he invited PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate it, Shri Modi asked him to complete it within 400 days. Shri Gadkari said he was hesitant to accept the challenge since it would be most difficult to meet the deadline. However, as Shri Modi insisted, he accepted it. Besides dwelling upon his ministry’s achievements, Shri Gadkari said he wanted to establish his claim by giving just one more example. In the coal sector, Bharat’s dependence on imports had ended, thanks to the efforts of the Energy Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal. A stage has come when Bharat is exporting coal. All power stations across the country had coal stocks to last at least 24 days. With the installation of a coal gasification plant, the cost of production of urea would be reduced almost to half of its earlier cost. It would result in saving of about Rs.45000 crore. Such performance can establish that a determined leadership can bring around a basic change in the situation.Shri Gadkari exhorted the non-resident Bharatiyas to participate in this growth story. Lauding their performance in every country in which they are working, he specially mentioned the role played by Bharatiya experts in managing road traffic in New York City.
Concluding his address, Shri Gadkari said, “Our value-based lifestyle is our strength. Our sanskar and itihaas is a matter of pride for us. We know that money does not bring everything. Our heritage is your inspiration.” n