Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for nine national highway projects worth Rs 140 billion in Bihar as well as launched the project to provide internet services through an optical fibre network in the state on Monday through video conferencing.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said these highway projects would improve the connectivity in Bihar. The highway projects include the construction of three large bridges and upgrading of highways into four and six lanes. He said all rivers in Bihar will have bridges confirming to 21st-century specifications and all major national highways will be widened and strengthened
The prime minister termed the day as not only historic for Bihar but the entire country as the Central Government was taking major steps to make villages the mainstay of its Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (self-reliant India programme) and that it was starting from Bihar. He said under the project 600,000 villages would be provided internet services through optical fibre cable in 1,000 days. This includes the 45,945 villages in Bihar. He said it was inconceivable a few years ago that the number of internet users in rural areas would be more than those in the urban areas.
The prime minister said India was one of the leading countries in the world in terms of digital transactions. In August 2020 alone about Rs 3 trillion worth transactions were made through the United Payments Interface (UPI) system. With the increase in internet usage, it was also necessary that the villages of the country had good quality and high-speed internet.
He said because of the efforts of the government optical fibre had already reached about 150,000 village panchayats and more than 300,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs).
Explaining the benefits that accrued from hi-speed connectivity, Prime Minister Modi said it would provide access to the best of the reading material to the students, along with access to telemedicine and access to information on seeds, new techniques nationwide markets to the farmers apart from real-time data on weather conditions. Farmers would be also easily able to transport their products all over the country and the world, he said.
The prime minister said the Central Government aimed to provide urban facilities to rural areas in the country.
The prime minister said that the approach now was to develop a multi-modal transport network where each mode of transport was linked to the other. The scale at which work was now being done on infrastructure-related projects was unprecedented. Today, highways were being built at twice the speed than before 2014. Compared to the period before 2014 there was a five-times increase in the expenditure of highway construction.
He said the government has announced to spend more than Rs 101 trillion on infrastructure in the coming four to five years. Out of this, projects worth more than Rs 1.9 trillion were allocated for the development of highways alone.