Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the government is putting in all efforts to build infrastructure, especially rural roads, in a comprehensive manner. “Veins give strength to our body. Similarly, infrastructure will give speed and strength to the development of India. There will be progress if we focus on building road and railway network, optical fibre network, water, grid and electricity connectivity along with electricity supply. Our government is working in that direction," Mr. Modi said while launching the Rs. 50,000 crore 'Setu Bharatam' project.
The 'Setu Bharatam' project aims to make all national highways free from railway level crossing by 2019 to ensure road safety. Under the project, 208 rail-over bridges and rail-under bridges will be built at the cost of Rs. 20,800 crore, Road Minister Nitin Gadkari said. Also, 1,500 decade-old bridges will be reconstructed and revamped for Rs. 30,000 crore. “We have taken a comprehensive and integrated approach. We know the problems and put our full effort to address them. Normally, the governments have an incremental approach. Our effort is to go a quantum jump," the Prime Minister said.
He said that developing rural roads is a priority for the government and it has got huge budgetary support this year. In Budget 2016-17, Rs. 19,000 crore has been sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), to connect all villages with roads, compared with Rs. 14,291 crore in the revised estimates of 2015-16.
Taking a jibe at previous governments, Mr. Modi said railway development was only limited to announcing new trains in the Railway Budget, as a result of which many key projects were pending. “Earlier, trains were announced in Parliament to please some MPs and get applause. Many schemes were lying dormant. Railways won't run only by applause. It requires significant development. We decided to develop rail lines and gauges. We have changed the way railway sector is looked at and how change can be brought about in that sector," Mr. Modi said. He said nobody is paying attention to the development work initiated by the government in the Indian Railways.