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Updated: Dec 12, 2017, 06.06 PM IST
Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled in India's first sea-plane, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said this mode will revolutionise the transport sector of the country.
Modi flew this morning in a sea-plane 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 told reporters after meeting Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat here.
It has nothing to do with the Gujarat elections, said Gadkari, who was onboard a sea-plane during its trial run at the Girgaum Chowpatty off the Mumbai coast on December 9.
"The prime minister can choose any mode of transportation. It is a moment of pride for us that he chose it for trial run. (Congress president-elect) Rahul Gandhi wants, he can use it," road transport & highways, shipping minister said.
Gandhi, earlier in the day, took a jibe at Modi over his sea-plane ride and said it was a distraction from the main issues of Gujarat.
Gadkari said his ministry and 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 foot deep water body and is also cheaper as 12-seater such planes cost Rs 12-13 crore.
"It does not require expenditure on creating infrastructure (that traditional aircraft needs). 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 sea-plane 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 USD 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 sea-plane 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.