As over 3,000 leaders from across the world huddle for their annual talkfest in this snow-capped Swiss ski resort town in sub-zero temperatures, senior Union minister Nitin Gadkari has got a full city to take back home literally — he wants to create India’s own Davos in hilly terrains of Himalayas.
Gadkari, minister for road transport, ports and shipping, said it is very much possible to create a new city like Davos back in India where hotels, shops and conference centres would be set up, while taking care of the environment and other issues, and which can host events like World Economic Forum while giving a big boost to tourism, jobs and overall economy.
“After I came here, a thought has come to my mind. I’m yet to start any work on it. We are working on a 1,000-km new roads for Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri of Rs 12,000 crore which would be all-season roads. That will be a historical thing with tunnels etc.
“Along with that, there is Pittoragarh where we are building a road for Mansarovar and we are taking Australian machines through MIG-17 and some work is already done, about 50 per cent. That place has got temperature of about minus 5-6 degrees.
“After coming to Davos, I felt why can’t we develop a township like this in that area, where people will come in sub-zero temperatures and which will have hotels and tourism facilities and will even go to Mansarovar,” Gadkari told PTI in an interview here at Make in India lounge on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting.
The minister, known for his out-of-the box innovative ideas, said it is very much possible to create a Davos-like city there in India, which is rich in all kinds of assets.
“We are capable of creating Taj Mahal even in a desert. It needs a vision, fast track decision making process, transparency and corruption free system. Another important thing is the commitment to the society and the country, and my country also needs something like this,” he said.
Giving an example, Gadkari said he was travelling from San Francisco through Pacific Ocean and an idea struck him to build a new road for Mumbai to Goa which will run alongside the sea and the work has begun on that idea.
“Similarly, we will work on Yamuna riverfront by building a wall for a highway from Delhi to Yamunanagar. A study is on for this project which will make travel easier from Delhi to Uttarakhand and Himachal, bringing down the traffic on existing roads,” he said.
Observing that at times an extreme position is taken on environment like issues, he said it is necessary to protect environment but development is also necessary, so appropriate measures can be taken to ensure that there is no ecological disturbances.