New Delhi: Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday assured that the public transportation will soon be in operation and that the government is formulating guidelines for safe usage adhering to social distancing norms to check the spread of coronavirus. Also Read - 'This is Not The Time': Nitin Gadkari Not in Favour of UP CM's Plan to Bring Back Migrant Workers
“Public transport is likely to resume soon… Guidelines will be there,” Road Transport, Highways and MSME Minister Gadkari said addressing members of Bus and Car Operators Confederation of India through video conference. Also Read - Centre Plans to Spend Rs 5 Lakh Crore on Infrastructure Development This Year: Gadkari
However, he cautioned towards maintaining social distance and adopting all safety measures like hand wash, sanitizing, face masks, etc while operating buses and cars. He did not give any tentative date. Notably, the ongoing third phase of lockdown will end on May 17. Also Read - Nitin Gadkari Laments That Ministry Could Not Bring Down Number of Accidents
Gadkari also said that he was fully aware of passenger transport industry problems, and would fully support them to mitigate their issues.
He said that he is in regular touch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who are working overtime to uplift the economy during these difficult days of COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister also asked investors and the industry to convert the coronavirus-induced crisis into an opportunity by occupying larger global market.
“Economy is facing crisis due to coronavirus outbreak… We should treat it as blessing in disguise as no one wants to deal with China. Japan”s PM is facilitating industry there to do investment out of China… It is a chance to boost Indian economy,” the minister said.
He said, Indian industry should grasp this opportunity to invite those foreign companies to invest with them in India. He expressed confidence that the country and its industry will together win both the battles – the one with coronavirus, and the one with economic slowdown.
Responding to concerns raised by the operators, the minister informed that his ministry is looking at adopting the London model of public transport, where government funding is minimal and private investment is promoted.
He also pointed out towards the poor standards of Indian bus and truck bodies which he said, are functional for only 5-7 years, whereas the European models last for up to 15 years.
Gadkari emphasised upon adopting good practices from European operators, which will also be economically viable for indigenous industry in the longer run.
(With agency inputs)