India to have 10,000 seaplanes; e-highways on anvil: Gadkari

New Delhi: Clear water bodies dotted with 10,000 seaplanes, ‘floating cities’ in the form of ocean cruises and electric vehicles zipping on dedicated highway lanes — that’s the future as envisioned by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
For the ‘go-getter’ minister at the helm of affairs to overhaul the country’s infrastructure, India has the potential to realise all this and much more.

“I have been talking about seaplanes. If it starts, in India we have the potential of starting 10,000 seaplanes. We have 3 to 4 lakh ponds in India, plenty of dams, 2,000 river ports, 200 small ports and 12 major ports. It will cost less,” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari told PTI.

The minster said he has asked his civil aviation counterpart Ashok Gajapathi Raju to explore a regulatory regime for single-engine seaplanes to facilitate introduction of such planes in the country as early as possible.

“Seaplanes can land in one foot water and require only 300 metre runway. It has a huge potential and runs at a speed of 400 km per hour. Our ministry and the aviation ministry will finalise its rules and regulations soon. There are different rules in America, Canada, Japan. We will study their laws in three months,” Gadkari said.

The minister, along with Raju, had participated in a seaplane trial run of budget carrier SpiceJet at the Girgaum Chowpatty off the Mumbai coast on December 9.

SpiceJet plans to buy more than 100 amphibian aircraft at an estimated cost of USD 400 million.

Describing cruises as “floating cities”, Gadkari said they have the potential to swell to more than 950 from about 90 at present.

Cruises from India could go to Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand and massive efforts are underway to boost this segment, including a Rs 1,000 crore terminal being built in Mumbai. A policy is also in the works.

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