Gadkari, who is the Member of Parliament from Nagpur, said that cleaning river Ganga was part of BJP’s manifesto.

"It is my dream to restore sacred Ganga's glory and utilize this ancient river's full potential by using it as a waterway from Gangotri to Kanpur and Kanpur to Patna to transport cargo and man," Gadkari said after assuming his office.

"I will soon hold a meeting with key officials of the ministry to chart out ways for transforming this ancient river into a mode for cargo and public transport. We will assess the possibilities of dredging and other measures,” he added.

The former BJP president said he has been entrusted with a huge task of overhauling the sector and fortunately has a grasp over toll, highways and other issues.

"There will be no hanky-panky business here. There will be full transparency, full accountability and e-governance. There would be no favouritism and nepotism,” Gadkari said.

Turning nostalgic, Gadkari said that he had come to the Transport Minister's chamber for the first time in 1997 for the country's first road project on build, operate and transfer (BOT).

"Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had entrusted me with two challenging tasks - linking villages under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) and converting National Highways into four-lanes. My reports on these were approved within a fortnight by former president APJ Abdul Kalam," he said.

Born in a middle-class agricultural family in Nagpur, Gadkari hit the spotlight for giving his city a new face through development work and also earned the nickname of 'flyover' man during his stint as the PWD Minister for building a series of flyovers in Mumbai.

As the PWD Minister between 1995 and 1999, he gained his first experience to undertake infrastructure projects.

The success of the Mumbai-Pune expressway also brought him fame, with the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee asking him to launch the national highway authority.

The highways sector had hit a low during the last few years and the new government is expected to inject a new life into the infrastructure sector.

On the other hand, the shipping sector has been showing poor performance too. It is poised for huge capacity augmentation to 3,130 million tonne (MT) from around 700 MT at present at the country's 12 major ports in the next five to six years.

The challenges before Gadkari include reviving the ailing road sector and also upgrading 55,000 kms of highways with an expenditure of Rs 5.89 lakh crore, a large portion of which is likely to be funded by the private sector through PPP mode.

A first-timer in Lok sabha, Gadkari, 57, had a long innings in Maharashtra as minister and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council besides working at the national level in different capacities.

Gadkari defeated seven time winner Congress leader Vilas Mutthemwar by a margin of three lakh votes from Nagpur.

Gadkari had on Wednesday reiterated BJP's commitment to infrastructure development.

"The government will take up laying of highways on a priority basis,” he said.


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