Narendra Modi underlines consolidated approach to complete infra projects
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the secretaries of infrastructure ministries to adopt a “consolidated approach” to existing projects and work on them by adhering to strict deadlines.
The PM’s remarks were aimed at ensuring that “no de-duplication of work is done” and that ministries work in collaboration as there were some reports of ministries not following an “integrated approach,” said a senior government official requesting anonymity.
Modi, who was undertaking a review of infrastructure projects including roads, railways, airports, ports, digital and coal sectors on Tuesday evening, told the officials that it was the time to deliver results. The meeting attended by top officials of the prime minister’s office, NITI Aayog and all infrastructure ministries continued for around four-and-a-half hours. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant gave a presentation on the status of infrastructure development of various projects.
Modi later tweeted, “Progress in road construction, particularly in rural areas is gladdening. Progress in highways sector is also showing great improvement.”
“In railways, we are exceeding targets in laying of new rail lines. Over 1,500 unmanned level crossing have also been eliminated in 2016-17,” he said, adding: “Aviation sector is buzzing with enthusiasm. We discussed how Regional Connectivity Scheme is going to positively impact travelers.”
During the review, Modi directed the think tank NITI Aayog to examine global standards in the application of technology in infrastructure creation and their feasibility in India so that the country can start adopting global standards and have a world-class infrastructure. He also said the government should use new technologies for road and highway construction to expedite projects.
Apart from updates on regular targets, Modi was briefed on the progress of some important projects such as the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Char Dham, Quazigund-Banihal Tunnel, Chenab railway bridge, the Jiribam-Imphal project, and the Regional Connectivity Scheme which will connect 43 destinations by air, including 31 destinations that are currently not served by air transportation.
In his presentation, Kant said that under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the ministry of rural development has achieved its highest ever average daily road construction rate of 130km. The rate of construction has led to the addition of 47,400km of road under the scheme in 2016-17, connecting around 11,641 additional habitations. He added that the pace of four- and six-lane national highways construction is also improving, with 26,000km of highways built in 2016-17.
The PM was told green technology such as waste-plastic, cold-mix, geo-textiles, fly-ash, iron and copper slag had been used in around 4,000km of rural roads and that this was being given a further push.
Modi directed efficient and stringent monitoring of rural roads so that construction and quality were not compromised.
For the railway sector, Modi asked the railways ministry to focus more on non-fare revenue and speed up work on redevelopment of railway stations so that deliverables are visible. He was told that 953km of new lines were laid in 2016-17 as against a target of 400km. Similarly, track electrification of over 2,000km and gauge conversion of 1,000km were achieved in the same period.
For ports, Modi stressed better outcomes for the turnaround time of ships and clearance for EXIM cargo as the sector saw the highest-ever capacity addition of 100.4 million tonnes per annum in major ports during 2016-17.