Manmohan promises flurry of infrastructure projects

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday promised a host of new infrastructure projects and assured removal of bottlenecks for big-ticket clearances and said these will nurse India back to high growth.

"We will start work on a number of new infrastructure projects in the coming months. This includes two new ports, eight new airports, new industrial corridors and rail projects," the prime minister said in his Independence Day address here.

"The cabinet committee on investment is also working to remove hindrances in the way of stalled projects," he added.

According to the prime minister, there was some good progress in the past nine years in infrastructure sector, notably in areas such as roads, railways, power, civil aviation, ports and telecommunications. He listed the following achievements:

* About 200,000 km of new roads to connect villages

* Over 37,000 km of new highways to facilitate travel and trade

* More than 40 airports built or upgraded

* Mobile phone penetration, up from 7 percent to 73 percent

* Record addition to capacity for electricity generation

The prime minister especially expressed concern over inadequate coal supplies, saying it was a major hurdle in increasing electricity generation. "But this has been resolved to a large extent," he said.

In the coming months, India will see visible results of these efforts to increase investment, he said.

"Our growth will accelerate, new employment opportunities will be generated and there will be improvements in the infrastructure sector."

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