Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today launched the "Setu Bharatam" project which aims at a breakthrough effort in improving connectivity by building bridges, revamping road and rail infrastructure - the bloodline of a country's economy.
Shri Modi said the government has taken a comprehensive and integrated approach to address the challenge of improving connectivity and is keen on taking a "quantum jump" to effect change, within a set timeframe.
1500 old bridges to be rehabilitated/re-constructed at a cost of approximately Rs. 51,000 crores facilitating the transport of goods and services, while keeping in mind the need of farmers to get their crops transported to nearby markets. The project aims at facilitating seamless and safe transport and travel within the country.
#SetuBharatam (1/n): Ambitious Program with an investment of Rs.50,000 cr of buiding bridges for safe & seamless travel on national highways— PIB India (@PIB_India) March 4, 2016
Taking a dig at the enormous paper work involved with the construction of bridges over railway lines and roads the Prime Minister quipped that if all that were gathered today, it would make a monument/bridge in itself.
To correct this, a "formula" is now provided according to which there are a set rules for creation of bridges over railway, and if the design forwarded complies with the rules, then permission will be granted to ahead with the construction.
Government committed to bring a qualitative change:
The Prime Minister pointed out that for farmers benefit, a comprehensive development needs to be effected which has been highlighted in the Budget.
Both highways and "I ways" (information ways) is the need of the country today, Shri Modi said adding that the government will proceed with laying down of digital optical fiber network. He also laid stress strengthening the agriculture infrastructure.
Big reforms in Railways are being undertaken, which will see more tracks being laid down, changing the track gauge along with an attempt to switch over to electrification from the current diesel powered engines keeping in mind the environment concerns.
The Prime Minister also suggested that engineering and architecture students could undertake research and PhD on oldest bridges and the new ones which are being created all over the globe. Internships on studying the structures like bridges should be encouraged to develop infrastructure as a "science".
'Setu Bharatam' also addresses safety concerns:
Transport Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has pointed out that out of the 52,00,000 km roadways in the country only 96,000 were national highways which is 2% of the total and has 40% of the traffic running on it. He also pointed out to the accident statistics which are very high.
Shri Gadkari announced that his Ministry has identified 726 'black spots' or high accident prone zones on highways and has allotted 11,000 crores to ensure safety to these zones.
Earlier, the Minister had said that 208 places have been identified for construction of rail over-bridges or underpasses adding that before the government completes 5years in power, he will see to it that all railway crossings on national highways will have over-bridges.
Building structures upfront will save valuable time in road develpmnt progrm as construction of structures isthe most time consuming process— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) March 4, 2016
Building ROBs-RUBs will not only make the transport seamless but also make a railways crossing safer— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) March 4, 2016