Observing that the development of cities and towns had not received adequate importance so far, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said urban renewal was one of the prime focus areas for the UPA government.
"The UPA government has reversed the trend of neglect of urban areas. Renewal of urban areas is one of the prime focus areas for the Central government," Singh said laying the foundation stone of the ambitious Rs 19,500 crore Mumbai metro rail project.
He said the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) launched recently by him had committed Rs 50,000 crore over the next five years for upgrading the infrastructure of cities and towns.
"This will be supplemented with additional resources from the states, civic bodies and through public-private partnership," Singh said.
Emphasising the importance of improving public transportation, the Prime Minister said he was happy that Mumbai Metro was the first Metro to be constructed under public-private partnership.
Singh said as the population of the cities grew, it was important to provide the people with good, reliable and affordable public transport.
He said in the absence of a good rapid public transport system, private vehicles would dominate the roads, leading to congestion, pollution and more accidents.
"We cannot force people to become dependent on costly private transportation as this will not only increase energy consumption.