Will End Malpractices in Regional Transport Offices: Gadkari

Indicating his resolve to improve road transport infrastructure in the country, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said here today that he would act against malpractices in the regional transport office (RTO).

"You are aware of 'Laxmi darshan' (slang for bribe) that goes on in RTOs. I have decided to 'close the shop' of RTOs," Gadkari said, after releasing a book of speeches in the legislature by BJP MLC and Mumbai party president Ashish Shelar, in suburban Bandra.

"In cities with population above 10 lakh, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at traffic signals will film offenders and they will be issued notices in 24 hours. We won't need traffic police then," the minister said.

"I feel even BRICS Bank headquarters should be in Mumbai," he said emphasising the importance of Mumbai as India's commercial capital.

Lauding Shelar for his "to-the-point" speeches in the Maharashtra legislature, Gadkari said 95 per cent people never speak to the point in the Lok Sabha.

Gadkari also emphasised on hybrid vehicles to curb pollution.

"We will give priority to hybrid buses and cars. I have asked Hindujas to launch an electric bus in India. We could make seaports, water ports and small jetties around Mumbai as well as start small seaplane services to nearby places," he said.

He said for the last 15 years, there has been mere discussion about water transport in Mumbai, but nothing concrete had ever materialised.

"Actor Suniel Shetty had met me to discuss a water transport-related project. I am ready to accompany state leaders to meet the PM to seek Rs 15,000 crore for the Mumbai transport infrastructure project," he said.

"Mumbai simply doesn't have space to expand. No party should view Mumbai's problems as linguistic or province related. Mumbai development is on the country's agenda and not only that of BJP," he said.

"For the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) was given a work order of Rs 420 crore, but Rs 1,650 crore was spent on it. God only knows when toll on the sea link will be stopped," he said.

"The Modi government's agenda is development. Our government will give priority to the poor. Modi never mentioned his caste in his campaign. When people decide to vote not on the basis of caste but performance, leaders will also modify their working style accordingly," he said.

He said that people in Mumbai must stress on performance audit and accountability.

"We want India to be the world's number one country. We will transform Mumbai coast, as the dirty sea water here smells horrible," he said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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