Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited Maharashtra ahead of Assembly polls, launching three new metro lines in Mumbai and inaugurating a
smart city project in Aurangabad.
Rs 3.5 lakh crore will be spent in the next five years under the `Jal Jeevan Mission' which aims to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024, he said during the visit.
"In the 70s, (late socialist leader) Ram Manohar Lohia had said women faced two problems - toilets and water.
Governments have come and gone. But we decided to fulfil Lohia's dream. We worked on providing toilets to women and ensuring water supply," Modi said in Aurangabad.
The PM addressed a state-level 'Mahila Saksham Melava', a meeting of women from Self Help Groups (SHGs), in the central Maharashtra city. He also inaugurated the 10,000-acre Aurangabad Industrial City (AURIC), the country's first greenfield industrial smart city, part of the upcoming Delhi-
Mumbai industrial corridor.
The Centre has decided that every member of SHGs can avail of loan up to Rs one lakh under the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (Mudra) scheme to start businesses, he said during the speech. Out of the 20 crore loans distributed under the MUDRA scheme, around 14 crore were given to women, Modi said, adding that out out of 1.5 crore beneficiaries of the scheme in Maharashtra, 1.25 crore are women.
The prime minister began his visit to Maharashtra by offering prayers to Lord Ganesh at Lokmanya Seva Sangh in suburban Vile Parle in Mumbai.
Later, addressing a gathering at Jio World Centre in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, he urged people to avoid water pollution during immersion of Ganesh idols by ensuring that plastic and other waste are not dumped in the sea.
"We need to protect environment and do away with single-use plastic. We have to avoid water pollution," he said.
Launching three more metro lines worth over Rs 19,000 crore in Mumbai at BKC event, Modi underlined the need to create cities of the 21st century, saying without them the aim of becoming a USD 5-trillion economy will remain a pipe-dream.
Modi also laid the foundation stone for the Metro Bhavan.
The three new metro projects are the Rs 4,476-crore 9.2-km Gaimukh-Shivaji Chowk (Mira Road) metro-10; the Rs 8,739-crore 12.8-km Wadala-CST metro-11; and the Rs 5,865-crore 20.7-km Kalyan-Taloja metro-12 corridor.
The new lines are expected to be completed by 2026, when the megapolis will have 337 km of metro network across 14 lines.
"As we have set a target to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years, we will have to develop our cities in sync with the 21st century world. For this, we will have to develop systems to ensure mobility, connectivity, productivity, safety and sustainability," the PM said.
"Our intent is to spend Rs 100 lakh crore to develop infrastructure across the country," he said.
"Infrastructure projects which are undertaken in small areas as well as in the metros have generated more jobs. But no one is talking about this. Probably because people have never seen projects being undertaken at a massive scale like this," he said.
The AURIC at Shendra near Aurangabad is projected to attract around Rs 70,000 crore in investments. It is also touted to be the country's first 'walk-to-work' smart industrial city.
Inaugurating the administrative headquarters of the smart city, Auric Hall, Modi said Aurangabad is not only becoming a new smart city but is also going to become a centre of the nation's industrial activities, and once fully operational, it will create lakhs of jobs.
At another function, Modi announced that the Ujjwala scheme, under which the government gives subsidized cooking gas connections to poor families, has crossed the 8 crore mark much ahead of targeted timeline.
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