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Sonia?s power-packed package for Rae Bareli

CONGRESS PRESIDENT Sonia Gandhi gifted a power-packed development package to the people of her constituency here on Wednesday.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 01:33 IST

CONGRESS PRESIDENT Sonia Gandhi gifted a power-packed development package to the people of her constituency here on Wednesday.

There were announcements galore as she inaugurated a 210 mw unit and dedicated to nation the 1050 mw Feroze Gandhi Thermal Power Station of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) at Unchahar.

She used the occasion to pay tribute to Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, but remained quiet on Ayodhya.

Addressing a public meeting at the NTPC's Unchahar complex, she spoke about generating additional employment avenues for the youth.

Winding up her three-day tour of her constituency, Sonia struck an emotional chord, saying people expected her to realise the dreams of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had laid the foundation stone of the project.

"I am trying my best to realise that dream," she said, while recalling Indira Gandhi's close association with the region. 

"With the dedication of this power plant, the dream of the people of this region has been realised," she said, while listing other major power projects that other members of the Nehru-Gandhi family initiated over the years.

Sonia announced the Lucknow-Rae Bareli-Allahabad highway had been declared a national highway and a notification in this regard had been issued. A sum of Rs 1000 crore had been given for development of Indian Telephone Industry's (ITI) units in the State. A Rail Coach Factory with an investment of Rs 1000 crore was also being set up, said Sonia, adding the factory would have the capacity to manufacture 1500 additional coaches. The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) would soon set up its branch at Rae Bareli, she declared and said admission to the NIFT would start from next session. At Lalganj, an automobile research centre would be set up, she said, adding that a letter in this regard has been sent to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, urging him to allot land for the research centre.

Referring to irrigation problems, Sonia said teams of the Union Ministry for Water Resources were taking care of it and a solution would be found soon.

Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar used the occasion to refer to "injustice" done to him.

"I was governor of Andhra Pradesh, when you decided to give me this responsibility as Union Power Minister. You may have probably realised that injustice had been done to me," said Shinde in a humble tone, sparking speculation about whether he was expressing his concern at not being made Chief Minister of Maharashtra again.

Shinde announced that power would be available on demand by 2012 much like mobile phones can be obtained today. The NTPC Unchahar plant would begin supplying power directly to Rae Bareli from January 2007, he said.

Though Shinde did not elaborate, NTPC officials said the Union Power Ministry may work out a scheme to enter into an understanding with the UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) to ensure regular power supply to the constituency.

Shinde announced that the Union Cabinet would soon take a decision to allow entry of the private sector into the  hydroelectric energy sphere.