Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched 'Setu Bharatam' -- an ambitious programme with an investment of Rs.50,000 crore to build bridges for safe and seamless travel on the national highways across the country."The programme aims at making all national highways free of railway level crossings by 2019. Around 208 new road overbridges/underbridges are envisaged for construction, while 1,500 bridges will be widened, rehabilitated or replaced," said an official statement here. Emphasising the importance of good infrastructure for the country's development, Modi said the importance of roads for a nation is the same as arteries and veins in human body."The government wishes to make a quantum jump in this direction. A good infrastructure network is vital for the growth and development of a nation.""In order to satisfy the aspirations and long-felt needs of the people, it is necessary to bring in a qualitative change and a comprehensive, integrated approach in developing infrastructure in the country," said Modi.
Nitin Gadkari, union minister for road transport and highways, said the Setu Bharatam programme aims to make all national highways free of railway level crossings by 2019 to prevent frequent accidents and loss of lives.The minister said the 208 railway overbridges/underbridges to be built at a cost of Rs.20,800 crore include 33 in Andhra Pradesh, 12 in Assam, 20 in Bihar, five in Chhattisgarh, eight in Gujarat, 10 in Haryana, five in Himachal Pradesh, 11 in Jharkhand, 17 in Karnataka, four in Kerala, six in Madhya Pradesh, 12 in Maharashtra, four of Odisha, 10 in Punjab, nine in Rajasthan, nine in Tamil Nadu, two in Utarakhand, nine in Uttar Pradesh and 22 in West Bengal.