Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday termed the Swachh Bharat Mission as a “mass movement” even as he said that over “100 districts now Open Defecation Free.” PM Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat, said, “Will offer prayers at the Somnath Temple today.” “Looking forward to addressing a conclave of women Sarpanchs & honouring trailblazers who have worked towards a Swachh Bharat,” the PM tweeted. PM Modi had last night met his 97-year-old mother at the residence of his younger brother in Rayasan town on the outskirts of the state capital Gandhinagar. Modi came to meet our mother Hiraba and other family members, Modi’s younger brother Pankaj said. He spent around 20 minutes with the family, he said. Modi pays visit to his mother whenever he comes to Gujarat.
PM Modi had yesterday announced investment of Rs 12,000 crore in upgrading eight state highways to National Highways in Gujarat as part of efforts to boost infrastructure development and job generation in the state.
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— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 8, 2017
Will offer prayers at the Somnath Temple today.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 8, 2017
The Prime Minister said the country is going to compete with the world and projects would not be allowed to languish for years.
Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects will together augment India’s infrastructure and projects will not be allowed to languish for years as “India is going to compete with the world”, Modi said after dedicating to the nation a cable-stayed bridge over the Narmada river here.
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“Strict timeframes would be adhered to for completing projects while using modern technologies … There are incomplete bridges and structures languishing for 10-15 years,” he said referring to such structures in Varanasi.
Modi said the ambitious Sagarmala project would alone witness an investment of Rs 8 lakh crore and usher in port-led development. Highways network under the Bharatmala project is being laid in a massive way, he said.
“Eight highways in Gujarat, totaling 1,200 km, will be converted into National Highways at an investment of Rs 12,000 crore,” the Prime Minister said.
“Clear vision, clear conscience and perfect policies” could usher the country on the path of development, he said adding Dahej alone has a potential to provide employment to 8 lakh people.
Lauding Road Minister Nitin Gadkari for augmenting highways network, the Prime Minister said road building pace has increased 11 times to 22 km a day in the present regime from a mere 2 km a day during the previous regime.
Modi said there was need for I-ways apart from highways and his government would lay a network of optical fibre in the country.
Criticising the slow pace of laying of optical fibres under the previous regime, the Prime Minister said sadly fibre network could be laid only in 59 villages as against their target of 1.25 lakh villages.
“The present government will lay optical fibre network in 2.5 lakh panchayats and work has been completed in 68,000 villages,” he said.
On tourism development, the Prime Minister said India is endowed with about 1,300 islands and some of them are bigger than Singapore and could be developed to tap vast tourism potential.
Modi also announced housing for all, including poorest of the poor, by 2022.
The Prime Minister said Gujarat will undergo massive development and several projects, including modern busports, reservoirs and other projects would be set up here.
Earlier, Modi unveiled a plaque to dedicate to the nation ‘four-lane cable-stayed (extradosed) bridge over the Narmada river.
The 1.3 km cable-stayed bridge is the longest in the country and is expected to ease traffic on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai National Highway.
Gadkari said not only the bridge was constructed in record 34 months but entailed only Rs 380 crore expenditure after a fresh tender in 2014 by the present government. He said the UPA government had earlier approved the bridge in 2012 at a cost of Rs 475 crore.
The bridge will significantly reduce travelling time while improving the connectivity between Gujarat and Mumbai.
The project was constructed under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) across the Narmada river with six lane approaches (6.7 km) on Ahmedabad-Mumbai section of NH-8 in Baruch.
This is the largest extradosed span (144 meters) in India and the first extradosed bridge in Gujarat, built by Larsen & Toubro.
As per officials, the bridge will have have state-of-the-art highway traffic management system (HTMS), variable message sign boards, median plantation, traffic aid post, RFID and smart card swapping enabled infrastructure at the toll plaza and theme lighting on the main bridge.
An extradosed bridge employs a structure which combines the main elements of both a pre-stressed box girder bridge and a cable-stayed bridge. Total length of the bridge is 1344 metre.
PM Modi Narendra Modi yesterday had also said the states were competing with each other to attract investment and move ahead on development path and asserted that benefits of such approach will be felt by generations to come.
“We have the experience of Gujarat, where keeping aside all differences, the government focused on development. We have created a unique image and the country has followed us,” he said.
(With agency inputs)