Manifesto Promises Manifest: Maharashtra Villages Fully 'Electrified', State Got New Air & Rail Links In 10 Years

(MENAFN- IANS) Mumbai, April 22 (IANS) In August 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to provide electricity to all the 5,95,464 villages dotting the country and in April 2018, he confirmed 'mission accomplished'. Lauding the achievement, the global power watchdog, the International energy Agency (IEA) hailed India as a 'star performer' in its World Energy Outlook 2018 report.

The IEA's WEO report acknowledged that since 2000, around half a billion people have gained access to electricity in India, and the Political efforts under PM Modi-led government significantly accelerated progress on this front, making it a success story and 'bright spot for energy access' on Earth.

After this, some stray villages, in remote and inaccessible areas of the state and other parts of the country, which have been 'power-less' since Independence or for the past many decades, also gradually came on the grid, enlightening the lives of people in the most godforsaken places.

The IEA said that this feat has benefited over 230 million by banishing candles, kerosene lamps or other polluting fuels to save money besides improving the environment and overall public health.

In February 2024, the government took a major step to connect the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of the state through the new Wardha-Nanded railway project with the opening of the Wardha-Kalamb broad-gauge line.

This line is part of the 284-km long Wardha-Yavatmal-Nanded upcoming broad gauge line rail project that would give a new link between the Marathwada-Vidharbha regions of the state.

The government also opened the new Ashti-Amalner broad gauge railway line, part of the Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli link within the Marathwada region.

These projects have boosted the links between the Vidarbha-Marathwada regions, boosted socio-economic development and benefited students, traders, farmers and commuters, eased road traffic while contributing to increased passenger and freight revenues by transporting cotton, foodgrains, steel, iron ore and other materials.

Though the Wardha-Yavatmal-Nanded project was planned in 2008-2009, the work was delayed by nearly seven years owing to major problems in land acquisition of nearly 2,140 hectares, which has almost been completed.

On the aviation front, last month (March 2024), the government opened the new terminal building at Kolhapur Airport, proving as a boon to air connectivity in the western Maharashtra region.

Several private airlines have announced or operate flights to and from Kolhapur, connecting different cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, and other states.

Earlier in 2021, the state got the greenfield Sindhudurg Airport under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) UDAN, but with few services currently, the airport has yet to gain popularity with more flights linking it to other state-national destinations.

Sindhudurg Airport is the first in the coastal Konkan region to get on the national air map, with a 2.5 km long runway that can handle narrow-body aircraft like Airbus A-320 and Boeing B-737, and a terminal building that can handle 400 passengers simultaneously during peak hours, plus serving as an additional gateway to the popular tourist destination of Goa, barely 140 km away.

The government has started more than 61 airports, half-a-dozen heliports and nearly 400 new routes to operate flights under the RCS-UDAN scheme.

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