Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared that the Union Government to observe November 26 as “Constitution Day” while laying the Foundation Stone for the Rs.7900 Crore fourth terminal at country’s largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) situated off the financial capital’s eastern seafront
New Delhi: Barely a month after the PMO reportedly flagged the “less than satisfactory performance” of the railway ministry, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised railway minister Suresh Prabhu for doing good work.
Addressing a public meeting after laying the foundation stone for two Metro rail corridors (the Andheri East to Dahisar East and Dahisar to DN Nagar — that the Maharashtra government is looking to fast track) in Mumbai, Modi said, “Hamare Suresh Prabhuji ne railway mein bhi sach much mein uttam kaam kar ke dikhaya hai (our minister has also done really great work in railways).”
Modi said earlier there was apathy, whether it was in expansion of railway lines, gauge conversion or even phasing out diesel engines. The BJP-led government has set an ambitious target of completing the two elevated Metro lines by 2019. “Today, there is speed and the results are also visible,” he said, adding that there would be greater progress in the days to come.
The 18.6-km Dahisar-DN Nagar Line is pegged at Rs 4,994 crore, and will meet the existing 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro at the DN Nagar Metro station. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will take up one of the two corridors for implementation, and will be a consultant for the other line. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had, in 2006, laid the foundation stone for the city’s first Metro corridor, the elevated 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro line, which was opened for public use only in 2014. In 2009, Pratibha Patil, the then president, performed a bhoomipujan for an elevated 32-km Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd Metro, a project that never took off. Last year, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan conducted a bhoomipujan for a 33.5-km Colaba-Bandra-Seepz underground Metro, the bids for which are currently being finalised.
Modi said the railways had allowed 100% FDI and a lot of interest was being shown by foreign countries in investing in rail infrastructure. He announced that a fresh project would be undertaken to convert 400 stations in the “heart of the cities” with state of the art facilities.
The PM’s praise for Prabhu came amid speculation and media reports that there could be a cabinet reshuffle after the Bihar elections. Earlier, media reports had said PM’s principal secretary Nripendra Misra had sent a note to the railway ministry citing the slow progress of projects such as station development and high-speed services.
India’s financial capital will now get additional railway network to serve its teeming millions who take trains to work. “Metro network is necessary for growing urban areas. while many may look at urban growth as a problem, I look at it as an opportunity,” said Modi.
More than half of Mumbai’s 15 million people use the railway network to commute down and up the triangular Manhattan-shaped island. So far, most of the commuters had to use the almost century old suburban trains, which have been served by creaky coaches overcrowded three to four times their normal capacity.
The suburban railway network also witnesses 10-20 people losing their lives every day while crossing tracks due to lack of overhead foot over-bridges or because of falling off overcrowded trains.
The modern Metro rail network promises to be safer, cleaner and faster. While most of it is elevated in the city that’s short of land, some parts of the new metro that’s being built, will also have some underground sections.