Huge investments in Rlys and highways cleared

 Cabinet decisions, Infrastructure Development
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved rail projects costing Rs 24,374 crore as part of its plan to boost transport infrastructure by de-congesting key routes.The investment, spread over nine projects, seeks to construct 1,937.38 km of tracks across nine States.
The CCEA also revised the cost estimate of the National Highways Inter-connectivity Improvement Project to Rs 6,461 crore from Rs 5,193 crore. The decision will help develop 1,120 km of National Highways in Karnataka, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
Over 27 per cent of the rail investment will go to two projects connecting Uttar Pradesh, a State heading for Assembly elections next year, and Madhya Pradesh. A rail line between Mathura and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh and another between Jhansi and Bina (Madhya Pradesh) will be developed at a cost of Rs 6,650.97 crore.
According to an official statement, the railway expansion projects will help upcoming industries in the region.
“The goods trains supplying foodgrains from one region to another, various industries, mines, coal fields and power plants will have additional transport capacity through these lines resulting in more revenues to the Indian Railways,” the official statement said.
Eastern States have also received sizeable investments. Projects in Jharkhand, Assam and connection between Odisha and Chhattisgarh and Assam will come up at a cost of Rs 6,368.53 crore.
The National Highways Interconnectivity Improvement Project, whose cost estimate has been revised, has already seen projects being taken up for implementation and 429 km out of the targeted 1,120 km has been completed.
For the remaining stretches, the civil works are expected to be completed by July 2019 and maintenance work by July 2024, an official statement said. The revised estimated cost of ₹6,461 crore includes the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation, and other pre-construction activities.
“The project will ensure safe, fast and all weather movement of traffic on the proposed National Highways, mostly located in backward regions, thereby improving socio-economic development,” the statement added.
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