Emphasising the unimpeachable fact that development comprises the sole antidote to the scourge of Left-wing extremism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi averred on Friday that facilities are now available even in rural areas where violence and anarchy once ruled the roost.
Blowing the BJP’s electoral bugle in poll-bound Chhattisgarh, the visiting dignitary – while addressing a public meeting here – said, “Modern infrastructure is intrinsically linked with social justice. A proper framework translates into rapid development and generation of employment opportunities. In India, our decades-old experience tells us that wherever the base is weak, development is inevitably delayed. Therefore, our country is developing infrastructure in places that remained backward in the progress race.”
The settlements of the indigent, dalits, backward and tribal folk – who suffered injustice for centuries – have been linked with road and railway networks, the Prime Minister said, adding that mothers and sisters can thus access infirmaries with ease.
“Another example is connectivity. Cellular phone ringtones are heard in villages that were affected by insurgency. Nine years back, a sizeable chunk of Chhattisgarh’s villages had no connectivity but that percentage has declined to about six only. Hundreds of mobile towers are operational. During the period in question, a total National Highway length of 3,500 km was sanctioned for Chhattisgarh and about 3,000 km have been completed. The state is being coupled through the Raipur-Dhanbad Economic Corridor and the Raipur-Visakhapatnam one is nothing short of a lifeline. Roads traversing wildlife areas boast tunnels and animal passes. Subsequent to amendment of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, Chhattisgarh is receiving higher royalty. The District Mineral Fund is being utilised to construct schools and libraries for children. In this state alone, more than a crore Jan-Dhan accounts were opened. Under the MUDRA Yojana; in excess of Rs 40,000 cr was disbursed to Chhattisgarh’s youths and the state has more than 60,000 beneficiaries under SVANidhi,” he said during his 13-minute-long speech.
In a major push to infrastructure development, the Prime Minister dedicated to the nation and laid the foundation stone for five NH projects worth approximately Rs 6,400 cr. These projects include the 33-km-long four-laning of the Raipur-Kodebod section on the Jabalpur-Jagdalpur NH. Besides boosting tourism, the section is integral for movement of raw material, finished products of steel plants near Jagdalpur and provides connectivity to iron ore-rich areas. Mr Modi also dedicated the 53-km-long four-lane Bilaspur-Pathrapali stretch of the Bilaspur-Ambikapur section of NH-130. It will help improve Chhattisgarh’s connectivity with Uttar Pradesh and enhance coal transport. The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for three NH projects vis-a-vis the Chhattisgarh section of the six-lane Greenfield Raipur-Visakhapatnam corridor. These comprise development of the 43-km-long six-lane Jhanki-Sargi section on NH 130 CD; the 57-km-long six-lane Sargi-Basanwahi section on NH 130 CD and the 25-km-long six-lane Basanwahi-Marangpuri section of NH-130 CD. A key component is a six-lane tunnel of 2.8 km length with 27 animal passes and 17 monkey canopies provided for unrestricted wildlife movement in Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary area. These projects will provide better connectivity to rice mills in Dhamtari and bauxite-rich areas in Kanker besides benefiting the handicraft industry in Kondagaon. Overall, these projects will comprise a major thrust to socio-economic development of the region.
The Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation the doubling of the 103-km-long Raipur-Khariar Road Rail Line that has been completed by incurring an expenditure of Rs 750 cr. It shall ease transportation of coal, steel, fertilizer and other commodities from ports for industries in Chhattisgarh. He dedicated a 17-km-long line connecting Keoti with Antagarh. Developed at a cost of Rs 290 cr, the line will provide connectivity to the Bhilai Steel Plant with iron-ore mines of Dalli Rajhara and Rowghat areas and link remote areas of southern Chhattisgarh passing through dense forests.
Mr Modi also dedicated a bottling plant of the Indian Oil Corporation with a capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes per annum at Korba, constructed at an expense exceeding Rs 130 cr. Further, he launched distribution of 75 lakh cards to beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat.
Among those who graced the occasion were Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari; Union Health and Family Welfare; Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya; MoS for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh Saruta; Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
Earlier, the Prime Minister’s special plane touched down at approximately 1020 hrs. The leader then departed by helicopter for the Science College Ground.