Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, in a big development push in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a slew of projects on Monday.
On the occasion, he also targeted the previous governments for not taking such initiatives before. PM Modi inaugurated projects worth Rs 2,413 crore in Varanasi.
The pilgrim city will witness a confluence of nature, culture and adventure, he said and appealed to the people to preserve the new face of Kashi (Varanasi).
In a veiled attack on previous governments, Modi said, "Today is a historic day. Today Varanasi and the country (as a whole) is witnessing a development that should have taken place decades ago. But that did not happen."
Claiming that when he had initially spoken about launching a multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river, "people made fun and indulged in negative talks", the prime minister said, "But now, these projects are living examples of new India's new vision."
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Referring to the multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river, Modi said the next generation was poised to witness a sea change in the transport sector.
"Now, the country wants only politics of development. People take their decisions on the basis of development and not on vote bank politics," he said.
Recounting his government's achievements, the prime minister said, "We paid attention to small things which affect common people, like cleanliness and health. We worked on them seriously... rural cleanliness, which stood at below 40 per cent before 2014, is now over 95 per cent and this is a matter of pride for me."
"The 'Ayushman Bharat' scheme has ensured medical treatment for the poor. Over two lakh people have so far availed it within 40 days of its launch... 'Namami Gange' is on a new phase. The money meant for it is not being thrown away in the Ganga, but being spent on cleaning the river... but during the previous governments, crores were thrown away in the name of Ganga cleaning," Modi said.
He asserted that for the BJP-led government, it is the development of the country and its people which is of utmost importance. He completed his speech with 'Har Har Mahadev'.
During his visit to the constituency, PM Modi dedicated to the nation, two important national highways in Varanasi, having a total length of 34 kilometres and constructed at a cost of Rs 1571.95 crore on Monday.
The function was held in the afternoon at Ring Road Tiraha, Hardua, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
The 16.55 km Varanasi Ring Road Phase-I has been completed at a cost of Rs 759.36 crore, while the work of four-laning and construction of 17.25 km Babatput-Varanasi road on NH-56 has cost Rs 812.59 crore.
The Babatpur Airport highway will link Varanasi to the airport and go on to Jaunpur, Sultanpur and Lucknow. With a flyover at Harhua and a ROB at Tarna, the road will reduce the travel time from Varanasi to the airport. This will prove a big relief to the people of Varanasi and to tourists and other visitors to the city.
The Ring Road, with two ROBs and a flyover, will provide a way for traffic on NH 56 (Lucknow-Varanasi), NH 233 (Azamgarh-Varanasi), NH 29 (Gorakhpur-Varanasi) and Ayodhya – Varanasi highways to bypass Varanasi city, thereby reducing traffic congestion in the city. This will reduce travel time, fuel usage and pollution in the area. The Ring Road will provide easier and more convenient access to Sarnath, an important site for Buddhist pilgrimage.
These projects will also provide increased employment opportunities, development of small and medium industries and give a boost to economic development in the area. Currently, NH projects of total length 2833 km, costing Rs 63,885 crore are underway to link Varanasi to other places in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday also inaugurated the first multi-modal terminal in Varanasi.
This is the first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on NW-I (River Ganga) as part of the World Bank-aided Jal Marg Vikas project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India. The other three terminals are under construction at Sahibganj, Haldia and Gazipur. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT on river Ganga.
PM also received the country’s first container consignment (post-independence) which was sent via an inland waterways vessel. The consignment containing cargo of the food and beverage company Pepsico set sail from Kolkata in the last week of October.
He was accompanied by UP Governor Shri Ram Naik, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
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(With PTI inputs)