PM visits the hill state, lays stress on developing tourism and pilgrimage, expanding connectivity
GN Bureau | October 12, 2023
Prime minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and dedicated to the nation multiple development projects worth about Rs 4200 crore in sectors including rural development, road, power, irrigation, drinking water, horticulture, education, health and disaster management, among others in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand on Thursday.
Addressing the gathering, the PM reiterated that this decade is going to be a decade of Uttarakhand. “Our government is working with full dedication and integrity to work for the progress and ease of life of the people of Uttarakhand,” he said. He recalled his long association and closeness with Uttarakhand.
Modi narrated about the development strides made by India. “The world is recognising India and the contribution of Indians,” he said. Recalling the despondency of the past, he noted the strong voice of India at the global stage that is beset with challenges. He mentioned India’s global appreciation for the G20 presidency and the organisation of the summit. He credited the people for the success of the country as they chose a stable and strong government at the centre after a long gap. He said he carries the trust and confidence of 140 crore Indians in his global presence.
The PM said that more than 13.5 crore Indians came out of poverty in the last 5 years and credited the all-inclusive approach of the government where those in the remotest of places also receive government benefits. “The world is amazed,” Modi emphasized as he explained that among the 13.5 crore people are those who dwell in remote and hilly regions.
He mentioned India’s Chandrayan which managed to land successfully on the south pole of the moon and achieve what no nation could do so far. “The place where Chandrayan landed has been named Shiv Shakti and the identity of Uttarakhand is now on the moon,” the PM said. He said that Shiva Shakti Yog can be witnessed at every step in Uttarakhand.
Modi underlined India’s sporting prowess and talked about the joy of the all-time high medal tally in the country. Uttarakhand sent eight athletes in the contingent and teams of Lakshya Sen and Vandana Kataria won medals. On the call of the PM, the audience cheered the achievement by the raised flashlights of their mobile phones. He said that the government is providing full support to athletes for their training and infrastructure. Today foundation stones were laid for the hockey ground in Haldwani and the velodrome in Rudrapur. The PM extended his wishes to the state government and chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami for wholehearted preparation for the national games.
“Every village in Uttarakhand has produced those who protect India’s borders,” Modi said as he mentioned that it is the present government that fulfilled their decade-old demand of One Rank One Pension. So far, he said, more than Rs 70,000 crore have already been transferred to former soldiers under the One Rank One Pension scheme which has hugely benefited more than 75,000 families of former soldiers.
“One of the priority areas of the Government is the development of border areas,” he said as he stated that the development of new services is taking place at a fast pace here. Pointing out the lack of development in border areas during the previous governments, the PM spoke about their fear of land being usurped by neighboring nations with the infrastructural developments. “Neither New India fears anything, nor does it induce fear in others,” Modi remarked as he spoke about the infrastructure developments taking place in border areas. He said that more than 4,200 km of roads, 250 bridges and 22 tunnels have been built in border areas in the last nine years. Mentioning the projects of today, the Prime Minister stated that plans are underway to bring the railways to the border areas
The PM said that the Vibrant Village scheme has turned the last villages into the first villages of the country. “Our effort is to bring back people who have left these villages. We want to increase tourism in these villages,” he said. He added new facilities and infrastructure are coming up in Uttrakhand in these areas. He said apple farming will benefit from the roads and irrigation facilities and the polyhouse scheme launched today. Rs 1,100 crore will be spent on these projects. “So much money is being spent to improve the lives of our small farmers of Uttarakhand. Under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, farmers of Uttarakhand have so far received more than Rs 2200 crore,” he said.
Modi said that the efforts of the “double-engine” government related to the development of tourism and pilgrimage in Uttarakhand are now bearing fruit. This year the number of devotees coming for Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand is reaching around 50 lakh. With the blessings of Baba Kedar, the first phase related to the reconstruction of Kedarnath Dham has been completed. Many works are also being done in Shri Badrinath Dham. He mentioned the ease that will ensue after the completion of ropeways in Kedarnath Dham and Hemkunt Sahib. Underlining the focus on connectivity between Kedarnath and Manaskhand, the PM said the Manaskhand Mandir Mala Mission that started today will ease access to many temples in the Kumaon region and encourage the devotees to come to these temples.
The PM emphasised that the expanding connectivity of Uttarakhand is going to take the development of the state to new heights. He mentioned the Chardham Mega Project and All Weather Road as well as Rishikesh-Karnprayag rail project. Speaking about the UDAN scheme, he said that affordable air services are also being expanded in this entire region. He also touched upon today’s projects including roads from Bageshwar to Kanalichina, from Gangolihat to Almora and from Tanakpur Ghat to Pithoragarh and said that it will not only provide convenience to the common people but will also increase the earning opportunities from tourism.
Referring to the tourism sector as an area of maximum employment, Modi expressed happiness about the government encouraging homestays. “The tourism sector is going to expand a lot in the coming times. Because the whole world wants to come to India today. And anyone who wants to see India will definitely want to come to Uttarakhand,” he added.
The projects that were inaugurated and dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister include 76 rural roads and 25 bridges built in rural areas under PMGSY; 15 buildings of BDO offices in 9 districts; upgradation of three roads built under central road fund viz Kausani Bageshwar road, Dhari-Dauba-Giricheena road and Nagala-Kiccha road; upgradation of two roads on National Highways viz Almora Petshal - Panuwanaula - Danya (NH 309B) and Tanakpur - Chalthi (NH 125); three projects related to Drinking water viz 38 Pumping drinking water schemes, 419 Gravity based water supply schemes and three tube wells based water supply schemes; Tharkot artificial lake in Pithoragarh; 132 KV Pithoragarh-Lohaghat (Champawat) Power Transmission Line; 39 bridges across Uttarakhand and Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA) building in Dehradun built under the World Bank funded Uttrakhand Disaster Recovery Project.
The projects whose foundation stone were laid include a scheme for construction of 21,398 poly-house, which will help in increasing the production of flowers and vegetables and improving their quality; a scheme for cultivation of high-density intensive apple orchards; five projects for NH road upgradation; Multiple steps for disaster preparedness and resilience in the state viz construction of bridges, upgradation of State emergency Operation Center in Dehradun, steps for prevention of landslide in Balianala, Nainital and improvement in other infrastructure related to fire, health and forest; development of hostels and computer labs in 20 model degree college across state; 100 bedded sub district hospital at Someshwar, Almora; 50 bedded Hospital block in Champawat; Astroturf Hockey Ground at Haldwani Stadium, Nainital; Velodrome Stadium at Rudrapur; Manaskhand Mandir Mala Mission Scheme for infrastructure development in temples including Jageshwar Dham (Almora), Haat Kalika (Pithoragarh) and Naina Devi (Nainital) temples.
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