New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Work on 15 new railway lines at a cost of Rs 50,000 crore is currently underway in northeastern states to provide connectivity to the region, President Ram Nath Kovind said Thursday.

Addressing the joint sitting of the two Houses, Kovind said under the ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’ about 1,000 government buildings and more than 650 railway stations have been made fully accessible to Divyangjans.

“My Government is working towards bringing about a transformation through transport and tourism in order to make lives of the people of northeast easier. Almost all railway lines of the northeast have been converted to broad gauge. Efforts are underway to provide rail connectivity to capital cities of all 8 States. “For this, the work on 15 new rail lines is under progress at a cost of approximately Rs.50 thousand crores,” he said.

To ensure that accidents at unmanned level crossings don’t recur, railways have eliminated all such crossings this year, Kovind said. “Tragic accidents at unmanned railway crossings have for years been a subject of discussion in our country. This subject has also been raised many times in Parliament. In 2014, unmanned crossings in the country numbered 8,300. My government undertook a mission to eliminate unmanned railway crossings, which have now almost been done away with,” he said.

He said many projects where delays in completion like India’s longest Bogibeel railroad bridge in Assam, Western Peripheral Expressway near Delhi, Kollam Bypass in Kerala have been fast tracked and completed. “By completing these projects, my Government has done justice to the resources of the nation and aspirations of the people,” he said.

Kovind said the eastern part of India comprising east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and states of northeast, “has the potential to become a new ‘Growth Engine’.” “Therefore, my Government is relentlessly striving to strengthen the infrastructure related to railways, highways, waterways and airways in eastern India,” he said.PTI ASG

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.