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Gadkari shares strategy to counter air pollution

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 Amid rising pollution levels, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said traffic not destined for Delhi should be diverted from the capital to cut traffic congestion on city roads.

Gadkari said the government was working on completion of the Easterly Bypass Road before January 26.

He said once the Easterly and Westerly bypass roads were operational, vehicles destined for other places near Delhi won’t have to enter the city.

“This would bring huge relief to the people of Delhi from vehicular pollution,” the Minister said.

Gadkari’s remarks came after he visited the National Highway-24 for inspection of the ongoing construction activity.

He said the two bypass roads, along with the upgradation of NH-24 into a 14-lane National Highway, would reduce vehicular pollution in Delhi by 50 per cent.

Gadkari said his Ministry had also formulated a Rs 40,000 crore scheme to ease traffic congestion in the city which would also bring down pollution levels as “vehicles won’t be stuck in traffic burning extra fuel”.

“Delhi is the heart of India and is the national capital. People from across the world come here and take a negative impression of the city. We want to change that,” he said.

The government was also working on use of alternative and clean fuels, in place of diesel and petrol, as another way of reducing vehicular pollution. This included electric taxis and buses, bio-ethanol, methanol and other technologies, he added.

“If electric bus system is introduced in Delhi, it would reduce pollution. Soon, bio-ethanol-based bikes are going to be launched which would use fuel generated from sugarcane husk.

“This would not only lead to reduction in pollution levels but would also help our farmers who are growing sugarcane,” Gadkari said.

He said the government was also looking at the possibility of setting up plants to generate bio-ethanol from rice straw, bamboo, cotton straw and other agricultural products.

About the first leg of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway from Nizammuddin Bridge to the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, Gadkari said it would be completed by December this year.

Work, which was to be completed in 30 months, would be completed in just 14 months. About 75 per cent of the work had already been done, Gadkari said.

The 14-lane road would have a six-lane expressway in the centre and four-lane highway on each side, a Ministry official said. It would also have provision for a cycle lane and foothpath along the entire stretch.

“Once all the phases of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway are completed, it would reduce the travel time from current four hours to 45 minutes,” Gadkari said.