NEW DELHI: Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Ministry of Railways is said to have set a new target for completion of all mega rail infrastructure-related projects, including projects of which foundation stones were laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last four years. The railway's ministry is also making all-out efforts to run 75 new Vande Bharat express trains before 2024 on various prominent rail routes connecting the national capital.
Recently, the Niti Aayog had reportedly reviewed the progress of railway projects with concerned officials. Sources close to Niti Aayog said the railway's ministry was pulled up for the delay in many projects, which have been found running years behind deadlines, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project, construction of over-bridges, sub-ways, conversions of a rail line, and others.
“Around 120 rail mega projects, related to mega infrastructure development, including 16 of those whose foundations were laid by the PM, were reviewed. And the railway has given its assurance to complete them by March 2024 — months before the announcement of the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections,” a reliable source said.
Among the projects reviewed by the Niti Aayog, around 50 are those of the current fiscal year, while the remaining are older. Work on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed rail project has been taken on top priority in an attempt to complete it by March 2024. “Work on this project in Gujarat is going on a war-footing while the job falling under the territorial jurisdiction of Maharashtra will soon speed up after the land acquisition formalities are completed,” a senior railway official said. At present, the railway's ministry is working on 285 projects, worth `4.07 lakh crore. Among them, 35 projects are nearing completion, but are years behind schedule.