Hyderabad, Oct 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said the Indian economy was moving at a rapid pace and hoped that the rate of growth would reach 10 percent soon.
'At one time, eight to nine percent growth was unthinkable but today we are hoping to achieve 10 percent growth,' he said.
He was addressing a public meeting at Kothakota in Andhra Pradesh's Mahabubnagar district, about 100 km from here, after laying the foundation stone for widening the stretch of the Nagpur-Hyderabad and Hyderabad-Bangalore sections on national highway seven.
The prime minister said development of national highways and other infrastructure would help strengthen the economy and pointed out that his government had made road development under National Highways Authority of India a Rs.2.2 trillion project.
Some of the roads were being developed in partnership with private sector, he added.
The work to four-lane 179 km stretch of national highway that passes through the backward district in Telangana is being taken up at a cost of Rs.15 billion.
The launch was significant in view of the upcoming by-election for the Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat and the movement for separate statehood for Telangana.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who resigned as central minister and quit the Lok Sabha, is seeking re-election from the constituency.
In an obvious attempt to counter the TRS campaign, Manmohan Singh said the Andhra Pradesh government of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was making all efforts to develop the Telangana region.
'This backward region, which is lagging behind in the irrigation sector, will soon leave the other regions behind.'
According to him, improvement of the road network in Andhra Pradesh would transform the state's economy and improve the standard of living of the people.
He promised full assistance to the state in development of roads, railways airports and ports to help it become one of the developed states in the country.
About 2,500 km of national highways in Andhra Pradesh are being developed into four-lane highways. Work on 1,200 km has already been completed.
Referring to Nagpur-Hyderabad-Bangalore highway, Manmohan Singh said the four-laning would not only facilitate faster movement of people and goods but also transform lives of people living in villages and towns along the highway.
'Farmers will be benefited by this work and every village will turn into a small town.'
Lauding the initiatives of the Congress government in the state, he said it would go a long way in changing the face of the state. He was all praise for the chief minister for launching a massive irrigation programme.
Stating that United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government could be formed at the centre with the 'love and support' of the people of Andhra Pradesh, he assured them that his government would extend all possible assistance for the state's development.