Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched a series of development projects in five Uttar Pradesh cities, including his parliamentary constituency Varanasi. Besides the holy city, the other places where Modi inaugurated projects or symbolically laid foundation stones were Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra and Ghaziabad.
In Varanasi, the prime minister laid the foundation stone for the Kashi Vishwanath Temple's approach road and its beautification, and also inspected the project site. After offering prayers at the temple, Modi said that he was blessed to be associated with the project of Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
About the beautification project, he said this was "mukti (freedom) for Kashi Vishwanath Dham" which was surrounded with encroachment. The entire temple complex is now in the process of rejuvenation and the results were becoming visible, with a direct link being established between the Ganga river and Kashi Vishwanath temple, the prime minister said
This project will become a model for similar projects elsewhere and give a new global identity to Kashi, Modi said. "It was difficult to take people into confidence to give their properties and ensure the project does not take political colour," he said.
"We will also try to trace the history of the 40 temples discovered here and the government will also take care of them," Modi said, adding the project will be a model for "protection and preservation" of temples and a combination of modern technology with ancient faith. During his brief stay in the constituency, Modi attended the National Women Livelihood Meet 2019 at Deendayal Hastkala Sankul and distributed appreciation letters to five Women Self Help Groups, whose members shared their experiences with the prime minister.
Women SHGs aided by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - NRLM, Uttar Pradesh handed over a cheque to the prime minister as their contribution to the 'Bharat Ke Veer' Fund. In Kanpur, the prime minister laid the foundation stone of Panki Thermal Power plant and unveiled plaques to mark the launch of various development projects.
He flagged off the commercial run on Lucknow Metro's 23-km-long north-south corridor, through video conferencing from Kanpur itself and symbolically laid the foundation stone for the Agra Metro Rail project at the same event. Modi also distributed keys of houses to the beneficiaries of PM Awas Yojana.
At a gathering in Kanpur, the prime minister said the projects launched on Friday will transform the lives of people here and Uttar Pradesh. The Panki Thermal power plant will transform the power-deficit situation of Kanpur. Under the Saubhagya scheme, more than 76
lakh free electricity connections have been provided in the state, Modi said. The prime minister mentioned initiatives taken by the Centre to clean the river Ganga and said his government was making the seemingly impossible task possible.
Several actions have been taken for treatment of sewage water and stop drains from emptying into the river, he said. Later on Friday, the prime minister inaugurated and laid foundation stone for projects worth Rs 32,500 crore Ghaziabad.
These included foundation-laying of the ambitious Regional Rail Transport System (RRTS) that would connect Delhi and Meerut via Ghaziabad, inauguration of a civil terminal building at the Hindon airport and an extension of the Delhi Metro's Red Line. "The RRTS is being built at a cost of more than Rs 30,000 crore. Once work on the country's first RRTS is completed, the distance between Delhi and Meerut could be covered in just one hour," Modi told the gathering.
The extension of the Delhi Metro's Red Line, inaugurated by the prime minister in Ghaziabad, would now connect Shaheed Sthal (New Bus Adda) to Dilshad Garden in Delhi, while the civil terminal building at the Hindon Airport would facilitate commercial flights, as the aerodrome was only for Indian Air Force operations. The prime minister inaugurated two model inter-colleges, one for boys and one for girls, in Loni town area, drinking water plant, sewage treatment facility and 180 houses built under the government's Aasra residential scheme in Ghaziabad city.
Modi also laid foundation stone for multiple development projects in Union minister and BJP leader V K Singh's Lok Sabha constituency. The projects included an Integrated Traffic Management System (ITMS), the first phase of a 45-metre wide northern peripheral road and outer ring road, among others. He said the connectivity projects will not only provide employment opportunities but also help thousands of commuters.
"People rue that they work in office for eight to nine hours and travelling takes another two to three hours... With improved road and metro rail connectivity, people's suffering due to travelling will reduce," Modi said. The prime minister said the plan for a civil terminal at Hindon airport was conceived eight months ago and it has come up within a short time, just like a similar facility came up in Allahabad within 11 months.
"These airports have been connected with UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme. Even people wearing slippers will now be able to afford flight journeys," he said. "Our government has worked on two approaches – strengthening the country's infrastructure and helping the common man," Modi said.
(With inputs from agencies.)