INDIA’S railways minister has announced plans to build 10 lakh kilometres of new routes across the country, which he hopes will help boost demand for its trains and other services.
In a speech to train operators in Lucknow, Manoj Sinha said the new routes will allow the railway industry to focus on more efficient operations, particularly for the rural areas.
It will be the second phase of his ambitious plan, announced last month, to build an extensive network of new railways linking rural and urban areas in the north and south of India.
The plan was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is seen as a significant step in the government’s drive to revive the economy.
In the speech, Sinha also said that the new railways lines will be connected to existing routes by trains on a nationwide basis.
It will take at least 15 years to build the new lines, he said.
The government has also said it will build two new highways across the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The minister also promised a network to connect India’s rural areas with the rest of the country.
Sinha’s comments come at a time when the country is facing the worst shortage of public transport in its history, with nearly 90% of Indian cities and towns still unable to cope with the influx of people.