Modi launches construction work of Agra Metro, highlights speedy execution of infra projects
New Delhi, December 7, 2020
Launching the construction work of the Agra Metro in the city of the Taj Mahal via video-conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today highlighted the priority accorded by his government to the infrastructure sector and said it had ensured the necessary funds at the start itself for all new projects.
Addressing the gathering, Modi said that one of the major problems in the country's infrastructure sector had been that new projects were announced but not much attention was given to where the money would come from.
He said that more than Rs 100 lakh crore would be spent under the National Infrastructure Pipeline Project. Work is also being done on the Multi-modal Connectivity Infrastructure Master Plan, he said.
He added that efforts were on to attract investment from all over the world to improve the country's infrastructure.
Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath were among those who attended the event.
When completed, the Agra Metro would comprise two corridors with a total length of 29.4 km and connect major tourist attractions like Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Sikandra with railway stations and bus stands in the city.
The project will benefit the 26 lakh population of Agra and cater to more than 60 lakh tourists who visit the city every year. It will provide an environment-friendly Mass Rapid Transit System to the historic city.
The estimated cost of the project is Rs 8,379.62 crore and it will be completed in five years.
Terming tourism as a sector in which there are means of earning for everyone, Modi said that not only had the government increased the number of countries covered under the e-Visa scheme but it had also reduced the tax on hotel room tariff significantly.
He said efforts are also being made to attract tourists through schemes like Swadesh Darshan and Prasad.
India is now ranked at number 34 in Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index as compared to 65 inn 2013.
He hoped that, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation improved, normalcy would return to the tourism sector.
The Prime Minister said reforms are now being carried out in a "wholesome manner rather than in piecemeal manner". He said that for the development of cities, work has been done at four levels -- Resolution of long standing problems, Ease of living, Maximum investment and More use of modern technology.
Modi said there was a trust-gap between builders and home buyers. He said people with some wrong intentions brought disrepute to the entire real estate sector, upsetting our middle class.
He said the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (RERA) Act was introduced to remove this problem. He added that some recent reports show that after this law, middle-class homes started getting completed quickly. He said all-round development from modern public transport to housing is going on to make life in cities easier.
The Prime Minister said that, under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, more than 1 crore houses have been approved for the urban poor.
For the middle class in urban areas, help is being provided to buy houses for the first time. He said, so far, more than 12 lakh urban middle class families have been given help of about Rs 28,000 crore to buy houses. He said infrastructure facilities like water, sewerage and so on are being upgraded in several cities under the AMRUT mission and help is being given to local bodies to make public toilets better in cities and to implement a modern system of waste management.
Modi said that, after 2014, more than 450 km of metro lines had been operationalised as compared to a mere 225 km before that. He also said that work on 1000 km of metro lines is progressing in 27 cities of the country.