Over 1,200 Railway Stations in small & big cities to be Modernized
The government has identified 1,253 Railway Stations for development in various small and big cities across India. 1,215 railway stations have been developed and remaining 38 stations are targeted for development this year. Stations are being upgraded under the “Adarsh Station Scheme”. The upgraded facilities under the scheme include roof plaza or concourse for waiting, shopping areas, seating facilities, restaurants, cafeterias, drinking water points, restrooms, wifi, ATMs, and integration with both sides of the city. Further interventions would include segregation of arrival and departure, escalators/travelators for comfortable movement, drop off, pick-up and parking facilities for passengers. Three railway stations such as Rani Kamlapati, Gandhi Nagar, and Sir M. Visvesvariya Terminal have been developed and commissioned.
Cost and Time overruns in Bharatmala Project
Bharatmala Project is an ambitious plan to develop over 30,000 km in national highways. Announced in July 2015, the original cost estimate of the project was Rs. 5.35 lakh Crores. Now the project is likely to be complete in FY-28. This is a 6-year long delay from the original timeline (2022). Consequently, the cost of the project has almost doubled to Rs. 10.63 lakh Crores. Per km cost comes around to Rs. 15.52 Crores, as per original estimates.
Work on National Waterways for Cargo, Passenger Movement
Development work has begun on 13 out of 26 national waterways for cargo and passenger movement. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, regulates development of national inland waterways. To promote water transport in the country, 111 inland waterways have been designated “National Waterways” under the National Waterways Act, 2016. Based on outcome of techno-economic feasibility/viability (TEV) and detailed project reports (DPRs) of NWs, action plan has been formulated for 26 NWs. Cargo movement of 108.8 million metric tonnes (MMT) by inland water transport through NWs has been recorded during 2021-22.
Flights launched under UDAN Scheme for Nashik, Khajuraho, Jabalpur
Spicejet airline has announced the launch of 26 new domestic flights under UDAN scheme. New and additional flights would start from July 22, 2022. Spicejet is introducing direct flights to Nashik from Delhi, Hyderabad to Jammu, Mumbai to Guwahati, Jharsuguda and Madurai, Varanasi to Ahmedabad and Kolkata to Jabalpur. Boeing 737 and Q400 aircrafts are being deployed on these routes, while frequency of flights is being increased on other routes.
CPSEs being allowed to import components from China
Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) involved in renewable energy projects will soon be permitted to import components from China. This would override restrictions imposed on them in 2020 to procure items from countries which share a land border with India. The Centre has agreed to relax curbs for CPSEs such as NTPC, engaged in commercial renewable energy projects. This would help to get them on a ‘level playing field’ with private sector competitors which do not face import restrictions. It would also help cut costs by directly importing from bidders/companies from China without the mandatory requirement of registration in India.