Asserting that infrastructure could play a pivotal role in bolstering India's economic growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said concerted efforts have led to rolling out of stuck projects worth Rs 4 lakh crore.
Modi was addressing a public rally at Sonipat in Haryana after laying the foundation stone of three major highway projects in the state - Western Peripheral Expressway, Eastern Peripheral Expressway and eight-laning of Highway section from Mukarba Chowk (Delhi) to Panipat.
He said projects worth Rs 32,000 crore have been sanctioned for the state.
"Infrastructure plays a major role in development of a nation... During the last five six months... held monthly meetings with the Chief Ministers through video conferencing regarding pending projects... worth Rs 4 lakh crore have been rolled out," Modi said.
No body would have imagined during 60 years that highways building would pick up such fast pace in the country under the leadership of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari , the PM said, adding that the projects include Bharatmala, Sagarmala and Sethu Bharatam.
Citing example of Korea, Modi said a network of highways was the basis of modern Korea and the government would lay emphasis that a wide network of highways be created in the country, including linking of 123 districts with National Highways, which sadly were devoid of it despite over six decades of independence.
"Korea is a good example, see how it has progressed by leaps and bounds. Their rulers started a modern highway cutting through the country, but there was much controversy as it was reasoned at that time that the nation is poor...
"... it does not have schools, hospitals and spending so much money on roads was not a wise step, but rulers of that country at that time, still went ahead and did this and it changed the fate of entire Korea," Modi said.
The PM said under Sethu Bharatam, 375 bridges were needed for connectivity because the project aimed at providing vital connectivity through bridges.
On the other side, Sagarmala would usher in port-led development projects in coastal cities, he said, adding that coastal trade too played a pivotal role in the economic growth of the country.
Stressing on promoting waterways, Modi said if apples of Himachal Pradesh could be delivered to different corners in the world through this mode, think how much the farmers would be benefited, he said, stressing on rail-road connectivity at the same time.
The PM said the government has undertaken several initiatives, including converting the present rail era into a modern one with initiatives like expansion and modernisation of railway stations.
Unfortunately, 18,000 villages in modern India still lack electricity connection and no electric pole or wire is there in the 21st century but the government is committed in this direction too, he said.
"The government is committed to take 24x7 electricity to every village by 2022 and is not a simple task," he said and stressed that modern era, apart from highways is also the era of I-ways - Information Ways.
Digital connectivity will not lack and optical fiber network will be laid down, Modi said.
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