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Modi reviews infra projects, calls for new tech to ramp up roads, coal

PM Modi asked NITI Aayog to examine global standards in the application of technology for infrastructure creation, and their feasibility in India.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2017 10:00 IST
Raj Kumar Ray
Raj Kumar Ray
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Narendra Modi,PMO,Niti Aayog
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing the third governing council meet of the NITI Aayog in New Delhi.(PTI file photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged his officials to explore new technologies for ramping up road-building and boosting coal output, as part of the broader objective of pushing economic growth.

In his periodic review of infrastructure sector on Tuesday, Modi asked NITI Aayog to examine global standards in the application of technology for infrastructure creation, and their feasibility in India.

India is ramping up infrastructure with an investment of $1.15 trillion to push growth to 8% in coming years, as outlined by the Niti Aayog in its long term vision.

Modi called for a “consolidated” approach to the existing road projects and completion within strict timelines.

In his meeting with officials from PMO, Niti Aayog and infrastructure ministries, Modi directed his officials for more efficient and stringent monitoring construction of rural roads and their quality.

“For this, he emphasised on use of space technology in addition to the technologies already being used, such as the Meri Sadak App,” a PMO statement said. The PM called for expeditious completion of vital links which will connect the remaining unconnected habitations at the earliest.

According to data collated by the government, the government agencies attained highest ever average daily construction rate of 130 km for rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. This has led to an addition of 47,400 km of PMGSY roads in 2016-17. About 11,641 additional habitations have been connected with roads in the same period.

Over 4,000 km of rural roads have been constructed using green technology in 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.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant made a presentation before the PM on the progress made in infrastructure sectors.

In the highways sector, over 26,000 km of 4- or 6-lane national highways have been built in 2016-17.

In the railways sector, the PMO release said 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 during the same period. More than 1500 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated in 2016-17.

Among measures to enhance customer experience, 115 railway stations were Wi-Fi enabled and 34,000 new bio-toilets were added.

The prime minister called for speeding up of work related to redevelopment of railway stations, and greater creativity in the generation of non-fare revenue.

Modi reviewed the progress of important projects in the roads and railways sectors, such as the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Char Dham Project, Quazigund-Banihal Tunnel, Chenab railway bridge and the Jiribam-Imphal project was also reviewed.

In case of the aviation sector, officials briefed Modi that the regional connectivity scheme will connect 43 destinations, including 31 unserved ones. The passenger capacity in the aviation sector has reached 282 million passengers per annum.

In the ports sector under the Sagarmala project, 415 projects have been identified with investment of Rs 8 lakh crore, and projects worth Rs 1.37 lakh crore have been taken up for implementation.

Modi stressed on better outcomes for turnaround time of ships and clearance for Exim cargo.

The highest ever capacity addition of 100.4 MTPA in major ports has been recorded in 2016-17.

All 193 lighthouses are now powered by solar energy.

Digitisation of land records is complete in all major ports.

In the digital infrastructure sector, 2,187 mobile towers have been installed in districts affected by Left Wing Extremism in 2016-17.

While reviewing the National Optical Fibre Network, Modi said the emerging digital connectivity network, which will connect thousands of gram-panchayats within the next few months, should be backed up by appropriate governance steps, so that it can lead to better quality of life and greater empowerment of people in the rural areas.

In the coal sector, rationalisation of coal linkages and movement yielded an annual saving of over Rs 2,500 crore in 2016-17.

Noting the decline in coal imports in the last year, Modi asked for even more vigorous efforts towards coal import substitution, and application of new coal technologies including gasification technology.

First Published: Apr 26, 2017 14:18 IST