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Seaplane will revolutionise transport sector: Gadkari

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Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s travel in India’s first seaplane, union minister Nitin Gadkari said this mode will revolutionise the transport sector of the country. PM Modi flew this in a seaplane from the Sabarmati River to Dharoi Dam in Mehsana district on the last day of campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly elections. “It is a big revolution in the transport sector of our country,” Gadkari said after meeting Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in New Delhi.

Gadkari said his ministry and the civil aviation ministry will frame rules for such form of transport on the lines of regulations in Canada, America and Japan. He said India has over five lakh waterbodies, out of which 111 rivers have been converted to inland waterways and will be used for transportation in the first phase.

Highlighting the features of sea-planes, the minister said it could even land on one-feet-deep water body and is also cheaper as 12-seater such planes cost INR 12-13 crore. “It does not require expenditure on creating infrastructure (that traditional aircraft need). It would be a very cheaper mode of transport,” he added.

Gadkari said such mode of transport would be made available wherever possible in the country, including Uttarakhand and the Himalayan region. Citing example, he said it was also possible that people could use seaplane to go from Jaipur lake to Udaipur lake in Rajasthan.

Budget carrier SpiceJet, which plans to buy more than 100 amphibian aircraft at an estimated cost of US$ 400 million, had conducted the sea-plane trials at the Girgaum Chowpatty off the Mumbai coast on December 9.

Gadkari, after the trial-run, had said in a tweet that he had been persuading investors to look at growth potential of sea-planes for the last two years. Rawat, after about a two-hour meeting with Gadkari, said Uttarakhand has a huge potential for seaplane mode of transport as the hill state has various big water bodies like Tehri and Nainital lakes.

He said various projects, including those related to Char Dham all weather road, converting state highways to national highways and Namami Gange projects, were discussed with the union minister. “We have demanded to convert Ramnagar-Karnaprayag state highway to national highway. Besides, we also discussed about converting some other state highways to national highways,” Rawat added.