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Modi launches slew of development projects in Assam, West Bengal
Guwahati/Kolkata, February 7, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a slew of development projects in Assam and West Bengal during a visit to the two poll-bound states today.
In Assam, he laid the foundation stone of two hospitals and launched "Asom Mala", a state highways and major district roads project, at Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister Rameswar Teli, State Ministers and the Chief of Bodoland Territorial Region Pramod Boro were present on the occasion.
In West Bengal, Modi visited Haldia, where he dedicated to the nation an LPG import terminal and the 348-km Dobhi-Durgapur Natural Gas Pipeline section, which is part of the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project. He also laid the foundation stone of the second Catalytic-Isodewaxing unit of Haldia Refinery and dedicated to the nation the four-lane rail overbridge-cum-flyover at Ranichak on NH 41.
The event was attended by West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, among others.
Addressing the gathering at Sonitpur, Modi said the entire North-East region, leaving behind the legacy of violence, deprivation, tension, discrimination and struggle, was moving forward on the path of development in which Assam was playing a key role.
After the historical Bodo accord, the recent elections of Bodoland territorial council have written a new chapter of development and trust in the region. “This day bears testimony to a significant change in the fortune and future of Assam as the state is getting the gift of two new medical colleges in Biswanath and Charaideo and foundation of modern infrastructure is being laid through Asom Mala,” he added.
Referring to the poor state of the medical infrastructure in the state in the past, the Prime Minister said Assam had only six medical colleges in the period from independence to 2016. Work on six new medical colleges was initiated in the last five years only. Biswanath and Charaideo colleges will cater to north and upper Assam.
Similarly, in the backdrop of just 725 medical seats in the state, 1600 new doctors will come out every year once these new medical colleges get operational. This will significantly improve medical facilities in far-flung areas of the state, he said.
The Prime Minister also said that work on the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Guwahati was progressing at a rapid pace and the first batch has started in the institute. The work on the AIIMS will be over in the next one and half to two years. Referring to the "historical apathy" towards Assam’s problems, he asserted that the current Government was working for the people of Assam with full dedication.
Outlining the efforts to meet the medical needs of the people, he said about 1.25 crore people in Assam were being benefitted from Ayushman Bharat Scheme as more than 350 hospitals had enrolled in the scheme. About 1.50 lakh poor people in the state had received free treatment under Ayushman Bharat. About 55 lakh people had availed primary health treatment in the Health and Wellness Centres that have been established in the state. Janaushadhi Kendras, Atat Amrit Yojna and Prime Minister dialysis programme were bringing positive change in the lives of the common man, he added.
Modi noted the centrality of tea gardens in the growth of Assam. He said crores of rupees were transferred to the accounts of 7.5 lakh workers of tea gardens under Dhan Puruskar Mela Scheme yesterday. Pregnant women were being helped by a special scheme. Special medical units are sent to the gardens to take care of the workers. Free medicines were also provided. This year’s Budget has announced a 1000 crore rupee scheme for the welfare of the Tea workers.
The Prime Minister said there was a conspiracy to malign the image of Indian tea. Documents have come to light where some foreign-based forces were planning to attack the identification of tea with India. These conspiracies will not be allowed to succeed and people will demand answers from these attackers and those who support them.
“Our tea workers will win this fight. These attackers on Indian tea do not have the strength to face the hard work of our tea garden workers,” he added.
Modern roads and infrastructure have a major role in increasing Assam’s capabilities. Keeping this in mind, ‘Asom Mala’ has been started in line with ‘Bharat Mala Project”. During the last few years, thousands of kilometres of roads and many bridges have been constructed in the state. He expressed the hope that the Asom Mala project will fulfil the dreams of the state to have a network of broad roads and connectivity for all villages and modern cities.
“These works will gain new momentum in the coming days as unprecedented emphasis has been placed on infrastructure in this Budget for rapid growth and progress,” he added.
Speaking at Haldia, the Prime Minister said today was a big day for West Bengal and all of Eastern India in terms of "Aatma Nirbharta" (self-reliance) of connectivity and availability of clean fuel. He said the projects launched today would improve both ease of loving and ease of doing business in the region.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that today is a big day for West Bengal and entire Eastern India in terms of AatmNirbharta of connectivity and availability of clean fuel. The four projects will improve both ease of living and ease of doing business in the region. These projects will also help Haldia to grow into a major hub for exports and imports.
Modi stressed that a gas-based economy is the need of the hour for India. One nation-one gas grid is an important step for meeting this need. For this, the focus is on reducing the cost of natural gas and expanding the gas pipeline network. "Our efforts have led to a situation where India is among the highest gas consuming nations. Hydrogen Mission was announced in the budget to promote cheap and clean energy," he said.
The Prime Minister listed works in rail, road, airport, ports, waterways to improve the quality of life and business in Eastern India. He said that scarcity of gas was leading to closure of industry in the region. In order to remedy this, a decision was taken to connect eastern India with the eastern and western ports.
He said the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Pipeline, a big part of which was dedicated today, is part of that project. The 350-km Dobhi-Durgapur Pipeline will directly benefit not only West Bengal but also 10 districts of Bihar and Jharkhand. The construction work provided 11 lakh mandays employment to locals. This will also provide clean piped LPG to the kitchens and enable clean CNG vehicles. Sindri and Durgapur fertilizer factories will get continuous gas supply, he said.
The Prime Minister asked GAIL and West Bengal to quickly finish the Durgapur-Haldia section of Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra Pipeline.
He said that, as the Ujjawala Scheme has resulted in much higher coverage and demand for LPG in the region, work is on for improving LPG infrastructure in the region. He said 90 lakh free LPG connections were given to women in West Bengal which include more than 36 lakh women belonging to SC/ST category. In the last six years, LPG coverage in West Bengal jumped from 41 per cent to 99 per cent. This year’s Budget has proposed 1 crore more free gas connection under Ujjwala Scheme. LPG import terminal of Haldia will play a big role in meeting the high demand as it will serve crores of families in West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Northeast as more than 2 crore people will get gas from here out of which 1 crore will be beneficiary of Ujjwala scheme.
The Prime Minister also said that as part of the commitment for clean fuel, work on capacity augmentation of BS-6 fuel plant was started today. This second Catalytic Dewaxing Unit will reduce the countryr dependence on import with regard to lube-based oils. “We are moving towards a situation where we will be able to create export capacity” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister asserted that the central government is working tirelessly to develop West Bengal as a major trading and industrial centre. For this port-led development is a good model. Many steps have been taken to modernize Kolkata’s Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust. The Prime Minister also called for strengthening the Haldia Dock Complex’s capacity and connectivity with the neighboring countries. The new flyover and proposed Multi-Modal Terminal of Inland Waterways authority will improve the connectivity.
“This will lead to emergence of Haldia as a center of immense energy for AatmNirbhar India," he added.