PUNE: The central government is focusing on improving mass transportation, including the metro rail connectivity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday after inaugurating a metro project in Pune city of Maharashtra.
The total cost of the Pune metro project is over Rs 11,400 crore.
The PM had laid the foundation stone for the project on December 24, 2016.
Modi was addressing a public meeting at the MIT College ground here after launching and laying the foundation stone of various development projects in the city.
"...Today, I got the opportunity to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of various projects. I am fortunate that I got the opportunity to lay the foundation stone of the Pune metro and today, you have invited me to inaugurate the project," he said.
"Earlier (during past governments), the foundation laying used to take place, but it was not known when the inauguration of the same project will take place," said Modi.
The inauguration of the Pune metro project shows and sends across the message that projects can be completed on time, the PM said, and appealed to people to travel by metro trains.
Noting that the urbanisation is taking place on a fast pace, he said by 2030, the country's urban population will cross the 60-crore mark.
"The increasing population of cities brings a lot of opportunities, but at the same there are challenges too. Flyovers in cities can be made up to a certain limit. With the increasing population, how many flyovers can be made and how will we widen the roads?" the PM said.
"In such a situation, we have only one option, that is mass transportation, and that it why our government is giving importance to improving the mass transportation and metro rail connectivity," he said.
Earlier, there were metro trains in Delhi and one or two other cities, but the metro network is now operational or being developed in over two dozen cities of the country, he said.
Before his address, the PM inaugurated the Pune metro rail project and also took a 10-minute ride in the train after himself buying a ticket from a kiosk.
The inauguration of the 12-km stretch of the total 32.
2-km long project took place at the Garware metro station, from where Modi flagged off the project and proceeded to take the metro ride to the Anandnagar station, located nearly five km away.
During the ride, the PM interacted with differently-abled students, some of them visually impaired, present inside the metro coach.
Before taking the metro ride from the Garware station, Modi also inspected an exhibition of the project put up there.
The 12-km-long route inaugurated on Sunday includes two priority stretches-- Garware College to Vanaz (5 km) and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to Phugewadi (7 km) -- on two metro lines.