Modi for better utilisation of railway lands

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:43 pm IST

Published - November 29, 2014 08:51 pm IST - Guwahati:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off the first train from Mendipathar in North Garo Hills of Meghalaya to Guwahati, Assam, at the Maligaon Railway Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday. Photo: Special Arrangement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off the first train from Mendipathar in North Garo Hills of Meghalaya to Guwahati, Assam, at the Maligaon Railway Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday. Photo: Special Arrangement

Prime Minister Narenda Modi on Saturday said that his government has been giving priority in developing next-gen infrastructure, including setting up an optical fibre network in the North-east which, he said, will create huge job opportunities and prevent large-scale migration of youth from the region to other States in search of greener pastures.

Mr. Modi, who arrived in Guwahati on a three-day visit to Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura, said this while addressing a public function held at the Railway Stadium, Maligaon, in which he pressed remote buttons to flag off the first passenger train from Mendipathar in Meghalaya’s North Garo Hills district to Guwahati and unveil the plaque of a foundation stone for a Broad Gauge railway line from Bhairibi to Sairang in Mizoram.

The Prime Minister, who drove straight to the venue immediately on his arrival at Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi international airport, said India now needs next-gen infrastructure – consisting of both highways and i-ways (information ways). He said there should be no digital divide, and the vision of Digital India should also encompass the North-East and the people living on the hills of THE region should have equal access to information technology as those living in the national capital and other cities. Why should there not be a gas-grid, why should we not get electricity for 24 hours, the Prime Minister asked, expressing confidence that next-gen infrastructure would be the key to building a modern India.

Saying that infrastructure is the first condition for development, the prime minister said that once infrastructure is developed, the people can themselves contribute a lot to development. He cited the example of South Korea to showcase how infrastructure creation could spur growth and development. He said if good connectivity was established across the eight states of the North-East, the entire region would prosper, and the tourists from all over the country would flock to the region.

Reiterating the policy of his government to ‘Act East’ to extend the ‘Look East’ policy, the Prime Minister that if India has to be prosperous, then development of North-East should be a priority. He also said he has heard that according to Vastushastra, if the North-East corner of the house was maintained well, then the entire house could be taken care of. Mr Modi said that he had had discussed connectivity during his recent visit to Myanmar for the ASEAN-India Summit and East Asia Summit.

The Prime Minister said that the first Union Budget of his government has committed Rs. 28,000 crore to the development of railway connectivity in the North-East.

He, however, expressed disappointment that while the railways can be an engine of economic growth such a huge potential had not been properly recognised. Assuring that his government would expand and modernise the India railways he called for both horizontal expansion of railways – expanding the network to connect every nook and corner of the country, and vertical expansion of railways – which means capacity building, technology upgradation and better services.

Mr. Modi said that his government has decided to allow 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in railways, to spur the process of modernisation of Indian Railways and added that the government was also considering privatisation of railway stations to promote economic activities. The Government would also set up four Universities for the Railways, and graduates from these Universities would be able to contribute to the Indian Railways, also getting employment in the process, he added.

Governor of Assam J.B. Patnaik, the Governor of Meghalaya and Mizoram Dr. Krishna Kant Paul, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, the Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Sports Sarbananda Sonowal and the Union Minister of State, Home Kiren Rijiju were present on the function which was attended by a huge crowed. Large number of people lined up on both sides of the road from the airport to the venue to wave at the Prime Minister, who was accorded a warm welcome by Mr Gogoi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Mr. Sonowal and senior BJP leaders and high officials of the State Government on his arrival.

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