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Modi inaugurates slew of projects in Tamil Nadu, including Grand Anicut modernisation
Chennai, February 14, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a slew of projects during his Tamil Nadu visit including modernisation of the Grand Anicut and Chennai Metro extension and handed over the indigenously designed and manufactured Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun Mark 1A to the Army.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal and Industries Minister MC Sampath attended the ceremony in Chennai.
The Prime Minister began his speech saying these key infrastructure projects were symbols of innovation and indigenous development that would further the growth of Tamil Nadu.
Laying the foundation stone to modernise the 636 Km-long Grand Anicut canal system, he said it will improve irrigation facilities for 2.27 lakh acres of land. The districts of Thanjavur and Pudukkottai will gain. “For thousands of years, this Grand Anicut and its canal systems have been the life-line of the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu.
“When water levels rise, cultivation rises, people prosper and the state prospers. We have to do whatever we can to conserve water. This is not only a national issue. It is a global subject. Always remember the Mantra of ‘Per Drop More Crop’ for the sake of future generations,” he added.
Inaugurating the nine-kilometre stretch of the Chennai Metro Rail Phase One from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar, he said this project has been completed on schedule, despite the global pandemic.
The civil construction activities were done by Indian contractors and the rolling stock procured locally. This was in line with the boost to Aatmanirbhar Bharat. “The Chennai Metro is growing rapidly. In this year’s budget, more than Rs 63,000 crore have been set aside for 119 kilometres of Phase two of the project. This is one of the largest projects sanctioned for any city in one go. The focus on urban transport will boost ‘Ease of Living’ for citizens here,” he said.
"Improved connectivity not only brings convenience but also helps commerce. The Chennai Beach Ennore-Attipattu stretch of Golden Quadrilateral is a high traffic density route. There is a need to ensure faster freight movement between Chennai Port and Kamarajar Port. The fourth line between Chennai Beach and Attipattu will help in this respect," he said.
He said the electrification of the Villupuram–Thanjavur–Thiruvarur railway line will be a great boon to the delta districts. The 228-km line will help ensure faster movement of food grains, he added.
The Prime Minister paid homage to the martyrs of the Pulwama terrorist attack that took place on this day two years ago. “We pay homage to all the martyrs we lost in that attack. We are proud of our security forces. Their bravery will continue to inspire generations,” he added.
The Prime Minister said India has undertaken a massive effort to become self-reliant in the defence sector. One of the two defence corridors was in Tamil Nadu. The corridor has already received investment commitments of more than Rs 8,100 crores.
“Today, I am proud to dedicate to the country one more warrior to protect our frontiers. I am proud to handover the indigenously designed and manufactured Main Battle Tank Arjun Mark 1A. It also uses indigenous ammunition.
“Tamil Nadu is already the leading automobile manufacturing hub of India. Now, I see Tamil Nadu evolving as the Tank manufacturing hub of India. A tank made in Tamil Nadu will be used in our northern borders to keep the nation safe. This showcases India's united spirit – Bharat's Ekta Darshan.
“We will continue working to make our armed forces one of the most modern forces in the world. At the same time, the focus on making India Aatmanirbhar in the defence sector moves at full speed. Our armed forces signify India's ethos of courage. They have shown time and again that they are fully capable of protecting our Motherland. Time and again they have also shown India believes in peace. But, India will protect our sovereignty at all costs,” he added.
Referring to higher education and research, Modi said the Discovery Campus of IIT Madras will have a 2-lakh square metre infrastructure facility to house world-class research centres. “I am sure that soon, the Discovery Campus of IIT Madras will be a leading centre of discovery. It will draw the best talent from all over India,” he added.
He said in this year’s Budget, special importance has been given to the development of India’s coastal areas. “India is proud of our fishermen communities. They are symbols of diligence and kindness. In the Budget, there are provisions to ensure extra credit mechanisms for them. Infrastructure relating to fishing is being upgraded. Modern fishing harbours will come up in five centres including Chennai. We are optimistic about seaweed farming. This will improve the lives of coastal communities. For seaweed cultivation, a multi-purpose sea-weed park will come up in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
India was scaling up the physical and social infrastructure at a rapid pace. Today, the country has one of the biggest infra drives in the world. “Just recently we have begun the movement to connect all our villages with internet connectivity. Similarly, India has the largest healthcare programme in the world. India is also transforming the education sector with the importance given to out-of-the-box learning and technology. These developments will bring countless opportunities for youth," he said.
The Prime Minister announced that the Centre has accepted the longstanding demand of Devendrakula Vellalar community to be known by their heritage name and not the six to seven names listed in the Schedule to the Constitution. “The draft Gazette to amend the Constitutional schedule to correct their name as Devendrakula Vellalar has been approved by the central government. It will be placed before the Parliament before the start of the next session,” he added.
“Our Government has always taken care of the welfare and aspirations of our Tamil brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. It is my honour to have been the only Indian Prime Minister to visit Jaffna. Through development works, we are ensuring the welfare of Sri Lanka’s Tamil community. The resources given by our Government for Tamils have been much more than in the past.
“The projects include 50,000 houses for displaced Tamils in North-Eastern Sri Lanka, 4000 houses in the plantation areas. On the health side, we financed a free ambulance service which is widely used by the Tamil community. A hospital has been built in Dickoya. To boost connectivity, the railway network to Jaffna and to Mannar is being re-built. Flights have been established from Chennai to Jaffna. I feel happy to share that India has built the Jaffna Cultural Centre which we hope to open soon.
“The issue of Tamil rights has also been taken up by us consistently with Sri Lankan leaders. We are always committed to ensuring that they live with equality, justice peace and dignity,” he added.
He also assured that the government would always protect the rightful interests of the fisherfolk and has ensured early release whenever fishermen are apprehended in Sri Lanka.
“More than 1,600 fishermen have been released during our tenure. Currently, there is no Indian fisherman in Sri Lankan custody. Similarly, 313 boats have also been released and we are working for the return of the rest of the boats,” he added.