Nobody in the country, whether in villages or cities, wants to remain insulated from the 'development highway' which drives the government to focus on developing and expanding the infrastructure network in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Tuesday.
Laying the foundation stone for the Rs 80 billion Pune Metro-III corridor, he said that in the past four-and-a-half-years, the government has constantly stressed on infrastructure, speed of connectivity through highways, railways, airways, waterways and I-way.
"If you travel from Kargil to Kanyakumari or Kutch to Kamrup, you will realise at what speed and how many levels of work is underway. It is happening because of the government's commitment, the aspirations of the local people, farmers, labourers, professionals," Modi pointed out.
"Irrespective of their socio-economic status, nobody wants to be stuck in traffic or stranded for hours on the roads in the absence of fast connectivity.
"This is the reason why we are concentrating on Integration of Next Generation Infrastructure and Transport from villages to cities today. With this aim, the Centre and the Maharashtra government are strengthening the infrastructure in the state," Modi said.
Terming the Hinjewadi-Shivajinagar Metro corridor as "special", he said it was the first project approved under the government's new Metro Rail Policy for the country.
"The Metro Rail Policy is 'reform oriented' by ensuring that the metro trains are linked with feeder buses. New walkways and pathways are being developed simultaneously," Modi said.
Explaining how metro rail is becoming the new lifeline in the cities, he said in the past four years it has been extended to over a dozen cities and many more will be added in the coming years.
While 300 km of new lines have been commissioned, new proposals for adding 200 kms have been approved, including 200 in Maharashtra alone.
"I don't hesitate to say that if the NDA-I government of Atal Behari Vajpayee had got more time, then Mumbai, its surroundings and many other cities would have been connected by the Metro. It was Atalji who emphasised on infrastructure development right from the cities to the villages," Modi said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the upcoming Metro 3 is expected to be functional by next year end on a 12-km route, and will be a boon to the IT professionals who come from all over the country to work here.
Modi launched different projects worth several thousand crore rupees on Tuesday as part of the state government's push to infrastructure development coupled with basic amenities, ahead of the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
These include the Rs.235 billion Metro 9 and Metro 5 corridors in the Thane-Mumbai region, a Rs.180 billion low-cost housing project in Kalyan and the Rs 80 billion Pune Metro 3 corridor.
Present on the occasion were Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Hardeep Singh Puri and other dignitaries.
After a hectic day in Maharashtra, Modi departed for New Delhi from Pune Airport late in the evening.