On Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi reviewed the progress of key infrastructure sectors including roads, railways, airports, ports, digital, and coal. The review meeting was attended by top officials from PMO, Niti Aayog and lasted for about four and a half hours. During the meeting, it was noted that remarkable progress has been made in several areas and infrastructure sectors. According to a government release, in a broad overview of the progress in the roads and railways sectors, Modi called for a “consolidated approach to existing projects, and working towards their completion within strict timelines.”
The highest ever average daily construction rate of 130 km has been achieved for rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. This has led to an addition of 47,400 kms of PMGSY roads in 2016-17. 11,641 additional habitations have been connected with roads in the same period. Over 4000 km of rural roads have been constructed using green technology in the Financial Year 2016-17. The use of non-conventional materials such as waste plastic, cold mix, geo-textiles, fly ash, iron and copper slag is being pushed aggressively.
The Prime Minister directed efficient and stringent monitoring of rural roads, construction and their quality. For this, he emphasised on the use of space technology in addition to the technologies already being used, such as the “Meri Sadak” App. He also called for expeditious completion of vital links which will connect the remaining unconnected habitations at the earliest. Modi directed the use of new technologies in road construction also. He also directed NITI Aayog to examine global standards in the application of technology for infrastructure creation and their feasibility in India.
In the Highways Sector, over 26,000 km of four or six-lane national highways have been built in FY17, and the pace is improving. In the railways’ sector, 953 km of new lines were laid in 2016-17, as against the target of 400 km. Track electrification of over 2000 km and gauge conversion of over 1000 km was achieved in the same period. More than 1500 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated in 2016-17. Among measures to enhance customer experience, Wi-Fi access was enabled in 115 railway stations, and 34,000 bio-toilets added.
Modi also called for speeding up of work related to the redevelopment of railway stations, and greater creativity in the generation of non-fare revenue. The progress of important projects on the roads and railways sectors, such as the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Char Dham Project, the Quazigund-Banihal Tunnel, the Chenab railway bridge, and the Jiribam-Imphal project was also reviewed. The Prime Minister stressed on better outcomes for turnaround time of ships and clearance for Exim cargo.
In the digital infrastructure sector, 2187 mobile towers have been installed in districts affected by Left Wing Extremists, in 2016-17. The progress of the National Optical Fibre Network was reviewed.