New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone for redevelopment of 508 railway stations across the country via video conferencing.
The redevelopment works of these stations were launched under the Centre's “Amrit Bharat Station Scheme”, which is aimed at redeveloping 1309 stations, official sources said.
"Our government has given priority to the expansion of railways in the North-east. Soon all state capitals of Northeast will be connected by rail network," PM Modi said in his address on the occasion.
"Commissioning of new lines has gone up by three times in the North-east, a second railway station in Nagaland is coming up after 100 years, while doubling, gauge conversion and electrification is also being done there," the prime minister added.
"Today, the focus of the entire world is on India. India's prestige, on a global scale, has increased. World's attitude towards India has changed. There are two main reasons behind this -- Indians brought in a full majority government after almost 30 years, secondly the full majority government took major decisions and continuously worked for a permanent solution to the challenges," PM Modi said.
"Modern railway stations will give a boost to tourism and economic activities. The government has also launched the 'One Station One Product' scheme which will benefit workers and craftsmen, along with branding of the district," the prime minister added.
"This year, railways has received a budget of more than Rs 2.5 lakh crore, which is five times more than the budget allocated in 2014," Modi informed.
These 508 stations are spread across 27 states and union territories, including 55 each in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, 49 in Bihar, 44 in Maharashtra, 37 in West Bengal, 34 in Madhya Pradesh, 32 in Assam, 25 in Odisha, 22 in Punjab, 21 each in Gujarat and Telangana, 20 in Jharkhand, 18 each in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, according to the prime minister's office (PMO).
Besides 15 stations are in Haryana and 13 in Karnataka.
The redevelopment, which will cost Rs 24,470 crore, will provide modern passenger amenities along with ensuring well-designed traffic circulation, inter-modal integration and well-designed signage for guidance of passengers, the PMO had said in a statement on August 4, adding that the design of station buildings will be inspired by local culture, heritage, and architecture.