Union MinisterV.K. Singh discusses issues from developing road infrastructure to developments in civil aviation.

NEW DELHI: The Sunday Guardian Foundation organized the fourth session of the Capital Dialogue with General V.K. Singh, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Road Transport and Highways. The session was hosted by Rishabh Gulati, Managing Editor of NewsX and M.D. Nalapat, editorial director of iTV Network. From developing road infrastructure to developments in civil aviation, every aspect related to India’s growth story was discussed by General V.K Singh.
General V.K. Singh talked about the clear vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Infrastructure is the backbone of development and PM understands that it is infrastructure which will boost the economy,” said Singh.The minister also discussed connecting borders with underdeveloped areas and economic corridors to pave the way for development. He also shed light on how India developed a road network of 62 lakh km. “We have delivered all of this with quality work,” Singh said.
The Amritsar-Bathinda-Bikaner-Jamnagar expressway project to connect manufacturing hubs and ports was also discussed. Singh talked about the road infrastructure revolution: “Earlier it used to take around three hours for Ghaziabad to Delhi, but now it only takes half hour,” the minister said.“In the future, Delhi to Amritsar will take four hours and Delhi to Katra will take 6 hours,” Singh added.
When Professor M.D. Nalapat asked the minister about positive change in Uttar Pradesh, he said: “Earlier Uttar Pradesh was considered a backward state because of its corruption and law and order issues, but in 2017, this has changed. Law and order are the prime focus of the UP government.”“Now infrastructural development is bringing business. Huge investments came from the recent summit and now it is a stable state,” the minister added.
When asked about Rahul Gandhi’s recent comments in the United Kingdom, where the Congress leader compared India with Ukraine, Singh said: “I do not want to give importance to Rahul Gandhi. He is like a puzzle with no answer. He speaks different things in India and different in the UK. As an Indian, it is our duty to stand for the nation.”
The minister was also asked about the corruption-free construction sector. “Making the system transparent is our priority. Implementation and quality are the main issues. We are dispersing small packages for holistic development of infra,” the minister said.
Aishwarya Sharma, Chairperson, iTV Network, asked about the disparity in the distribution of government schemes in Uttar Pradesh. The minister answered: “Green secularism and last-mile delivery is the focus of the government. BJP touches all sections of society and when you touch everybody, no one feels neglected.”
Kartikeya Sharma, Founder, iTV Network, and Rajya Sabha Member, also asked the minister about the traffic congestion due to the Manesar toll (Kirki Dhola). “Number of RWAs approached us and told us that this toll should be moved out at some point in time,” said Sharma.
The minister answered: “Now we have opened Dausa road and it takes two-and-a-half hours to reach Jaipur now; the Manesar road is under maintenance. We are going to ensure that this road comes better than what it is today. Once people start using the Dausa road, the pressure on the road will go down.”
“We are just a couple of months away from the Dwarka expressway opening, once that opens up, it will take the traffic away from the main Delhi-Gurugram Road,” V.K. Singh added.General Singh also shared his feeling about how, 50 years from now, General Singh would like to be remembered. On this, he answered, “Somebody who contributed to the development of the country.”
Some interesting facts about development in civil aviation were also discussed. According to Singh, democratizing air travel is the focus of the government. “Till 2014, we had 70 airports, but now we have around 148 airports, including heliports and aerodromes, almost doubling the number.”
The Minister also informed about upcoming development projects like Jewar airport, Mopa airport Goa, Bengaluru terminal 2, Chennai airport last terminal and the new terminal at Port Blair. He also said that the government is not selling airports. “We are leasing airports with the public-private partnership model. It is a win-win situation,” V.K. Singh said. The Minister discussed coming changes in toll tax, where cameras will be used to collect tolls for smooth flow on highways.