Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday alleged that there were conspiracies to defame Gujarat and stop investments, but his home state ignored them and charted a new path of progress. He also said he can clearly visualise that in spite of many deficiencies now, India will be a developed nation by 2047.
Modi was addressing a rally here in Kutch district on the second day of his two-day visit to the BJP-ruled Gujarat, where elections are due later this year. Before the rally, the PM held a three-km long roadshow in Bhuj, where thousands of people gathered on both sides of the road to greet him. The crowd kept shouting his name and waved the tricolour to express their affection for the PM. Modi reciprocated by waving at them while standing in a car. After the roadshow, Modi inugurated Smriti Van, a memorial built on the outskirts of Bhuj town in memory of the 2001 earthquake victims. He later went to the Kutch University ground to address a mass gathering and launch other projects collectively worth about Rs 4,400 crore, including Kutch branch canal of the Sardar Sarovar project, new automatic milk processing and packing plant of Sarhad Dairy, Regional Science Centre at Bhuj, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Convention Centre at Gandhidham. Addressing the rally, Modi said, “While Gujarat was dealing with natural calamities one after the other, there were conspiracies hatched to defame it in the country and the world. Repeated attempts were made to stop investment coming to Gujarat.” He said Gujarat ignored all efforts to defame it, defied the conspiracies and the state charted a new industrial new path of progress.
“After the 2001 Kutch earthquake, in the midst of the destruction, I had spoken about redevelopment of Kutch and we worked hard for it. In that hour of challenge, we had proclaimed that we will turn disaster into an opportunity and we achieved it. Today, you are witnessing the results,” he said.
There were many who said Kutch wont be able to recover from the earthquake, but people there have changed the scenario, he said.
“When I say from the ramparts of the Red Fort that India will be a developed country by 2047, though you may see many deficiencies now, I can clearly visualise it. What we resolve today, we will surely realise in 2047,” Modi said.
He said Gujarat became the first state in the country to enact the Disaster Management Act.
“After drawing inspiration from this Act, a similar law was made for the whole country. This Act helped every government in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said.
Speaking about development of the area after the 2001 earthquake, Modi said Kutch has the largest cement plants in the world today. It is second in the world regarding welding pipe manufacturing.
“The worlds second largest textile plant is in Kutch. Asias first Special Economic Zone came up in Kutch. The Kandla and Mundra ports handle 30 per cent of Indias cargo and Kutch produces 30 per cent salt of the country,” he said.
The Smriti Van Memorial in Bhuj and Veer Bal Smarak at Anjar are symbols of the shared pain of Kutch, Gujarat and the entire country, said Modi.
“Many emotions went through my heart today at the time of inaugurating the memorial. With all humility I may say that in commemorating the departed souls, the Smriti Van Memorial is at par with the 9/11 memorial in the US and the Hiroshima Memorial in Japan,” he said.
Modi said he remembers that when the Kutch earthquake occurred, he reached here on the second day itself.
“I was not the chief minister of Gujarat then, I was a simple (BJP) party worker. I didnt know in what way, and how many people I would be able to help. But I decided that I will be here among you all in that hour of grief. And when I became the chief minister, the experience of the service helped me a lot,” he said. Modi said Smriti Van is a tribute to the lost lives and the remarkable fighting spirit of the people of Kutch.
After the inauguration, Modi, accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, took a stroll inside the museum premises where officials and tour guides informed him about its various aspects.
Later in the day, addressing in Gandhinagar a programme held to mark 40 years of Suzuki Motor Corporation in India, Modi said India aims to be self-reliant in the energy sector in the next 25 years and electric vehicle, which is leading a “silent revolution”, has a key role to play in achieving it.
He also hailed the relationship between India and Japan. “It is our goal that India becomes aatmanirbhar for its energy needs in the next 25 years of Amrit Kaal,” Modi said.
“As a major part of energy consumption is in the transport sector, innovation and (research) efforts in this sector should be our priority. I am confident we will be able to achieve this,” he said. Modi, who also laid the foundation stone of Suzuki Motor Gujarats new EV battery plant and Maruti Suzukis new plant at Sonipat, in Haryana, stressed on the importance of promoting EVs in the country.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)