PM launches projects worth 9.4k crore on Gujarat visit

Updated on Sep 30, 2022 02:42 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a two-day, four-city visit of Gujarat on Thursday, launching a clutch of projects and pointing out that his Bharatiya Janata Party has , in the 21 years it has governed Gujarat since 2001, turned the state into the country’s “door to prosperity.” The visit comes ahead of assembly elections in the state towards the end of the year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with PV Sindhu, Neeraj Chopra and others during inauguration of 36th National Games in Ahmedabad, Thursday (PIB)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with PV Sindhu, Neeraj Chopra and others during inauguration of 36th National Games in Ahmedabad, Thursday (PIB)
By, Ahmedabad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a two-day, four-city visit of Gujarat on Thursday, launching a clutch of projects and pointing out that his Bharatiya Janata Party has , in the 21 years it has governed Gujarat since 2001, turned the state into the country’s “door to prosperity.” The visit comes ahead of assembly elections in the state towards the end of the year.

The agenda for the two visit includes the launch of projects worth 29,000 crore in Surat, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad and Ambaji; the laying of the foundation stone of the world’s first CNG terminal; the inauguration of the first phase of the Ahmedabad metro rail project; and the start of work on the new Ahmedabad railway station.

On the first day of the visit, Modi inaugurated the Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City project that aims to establish Surat, where more than 80% of the world’s rough diamonds are processed, as the world’s largest diamond trading hub. He also inaugurated the 36th National Games at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the world’s largest cricket stadium. This is the first time that the National Games are being held in Gujarat .

“Gujarat has the longest coastline in the country, but no attention was paid for its development for decades after India gained independence,” the PM said. “Due to salinity ingress, people were forced to migrate to bigger cities in search of employment,” he added. Modi, who was Gujarat’s CM between 2001 and 2014 when he came PM, said “honest attempts” have been made by BJP governments in the last 20 years to develop the state.

Modi said that there are now three operational LNG terminals and a petrochemical hub on the Gujarat coast. “Apart from playing a crucial role in the export and import sector, Gujarat’s coastline has created employment opportunities for lakhs of young people,” the PM said.

Modi also claimed that the state’s coastline has now become synonymous with the renewable energy sector and hydrocarbon ecosystem and spoke about new solar projects coming up, including one in Palitana.

“We did all this work without making any noise or without wasting money on publicity, because we are not doing it for power. For us, power is only a means to serve the people and that is the reason why we continue to get people’s blessings,” the PM said.

Giving an example, Modi said, he has proved his critics wrong by successfully implementing the Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana, which was launched when he Gujarat CM. The scheme is aimed at filling 115 major dams by diverting floodwaters overflowing from the Sardar Sarovar Dam across the Narmada river to the drought areas.

“They claimed that I would dump this scheme after the elections. But I have proved everyone wrong by implementing the SAUNI Yojana. Today, Narmada waters are reaching all those places as per the announcement. We always stick to our promises. We (BJP) live for the society,” he said, while speaking at a public rally in Bhavnagar city after inaugurating and performing the ground-breaking ceremony of projects worth more than 6,000 crore meant for Bhavnagar, Botad and Amreli districts.

The PM added that the development of the existing port in Bhavnagar would create new employment opportunities and help expand business activities related to storage, transportation and logistics. Referring to the upcoming maritime museum in Lothal near Bhavnagar, Modi said “commendable” work is being done to turn Gujarat’s maritime history and heritage into a tourism opportunity.

In his public address at Surat after launching projects worth 3,400 crore, the Prime Minister said that in the last 20 years Surat has progressed a lot. Recalling his struggle to get an airport in Surat city when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi said his government got tired of explaining the need for setting up an airport in Surat to the then UPA government.

“Today, many people come and go from the airport here and it has helped in the city’s development. This is the benefit of the double engine government,” he said, resorting to a term he uses often to describe the advantages of having the same party in charge of a state and the Union. He said many families are dependent on the diamond and textile industries of Surat.

“Surat will emerge as the safest and most convenient diamond trading hub in the world once the DREAM city project is completed,” Modi said. He described Surat as “mini-India” and the city was an example of ‘Jan Bhagidari’ and unity.

The Prime Minister further said that the four Ps, ‘People’s Public Private Partnership’ , make Surat a special city. “When there was a discussion on the three Ps; Public Private Partnership in the initial decades of this century, I used to say that Surat is an example of four Ps; People’s Public Private Partnership. This model makes Surat special. I am pleased that Surat is one of the fastest developing cities in the world today which is benefitting every business.”

Modi participated in a grand roadshow soon after his arrival in Gujarat.

“The Prime Minister’s move is something similar to what he did ahead of 2017 Gujarat state elections. He is trying to send a message that it is because of the Centre’s backing that projects which appear big and impressive are accomplished. The Prime Minister is trying to reinforce the support of the middle class. The DREAM project is important in wooing the powerful Patidar community,” Ghanshyam Shah, a retired political science professor of JNU, said.

The Opposition, meanwhile, hit at the PM for not fulfilling promises made during election campaigns. “Prime Minister Modi makes big announcements during election times which fail to take off eventually. He had earlier announced in 2008 that the Kalpasar project will be a game changer for Bhavnagar and the entire Saurashtra region. Not a single brick has been laid till date. Similarly, the Prime Minister announced in 2012 that a diamond park will be built on mill land in Bhavnagar but till date the project remains on paper,” said Congress national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil who is a native of Bhavnagar.

On Friday, the Prime Minister will flag off the Gandhinagar- Mumbai Vande Bharat Express at Gandhinagar station and travel on the train from there to Kalupur Railway Station in Ahmedabad. This indigenously developed train will operate between Gandhinagar to Mumbai and is the first Vande Bharat Train equipped with the ‘KAVACH’ technique ( an indigenous Train Collision Avoidance System).

Later in the day, the Prime Minister will flag off the Ahmedabad Metro rail project, the first phase of which has been built at a cost of about 12,900 crore. The work for metro project started in 2017. In the evening, the PM will lay the foundation stone and dedicate various projects worth over 7,200 crore in Ambaji, one of the 51 Shakti Peeths including handing over of over 45,000 houses built under PM Awas Yojana.

These big projects are aimed to develop world-class infrastructure, enhance mobility and significantly improve ease of living, according to a BJP party official. “The Prime Minister during his visit is reaching out to people in about 50 constituencies (out of total 182 assembly seats) during his visit. He has visited Gujarat at least seven times in the last seven months,” this person added.

Gujarat is scheduled to go to polls in December this year and this time the contest is expected to be a three-way one with the Aam Aadmi Party looking to make inroads by taking on the ruling BJP and opposition Congress.

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