Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (February 14) inaugurated the Chennai Metro Rail Phase-I extension and laid the foundation stone for several other infrastructure projects in different sectors, including railways, in Tamil Nadu.
“The Chennai metro is growing rapidly… It will make everyone happy that we are launching 9-km-long stretch of metro rail, which has been completed on schedule despite COVID by Indian contractors,” he said.
He described them as symbols of innovation and indigenous development. He also said the decade was going to belong to India, adding the entire world was looking at it with positivity.
At an event at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai, he flagged off the 9.01-km Metro service from Washermanpet to Wimco Nagar in North Chennai, completed at a cost of ₹3,770 crore. With this extension, the Phase I covers a total length of 54.05 km and people can travel from the north Chennai locality to the airport in the south easily.
Modi dedicated to the nation the Chennai Beach Attipattu fourth line and the Railway electrification of Villupuram Cuddalore-Mayiladuturai Thanjavur-Mayiladuturai-Tiruvarur Single Line Sections.
He also laid the foundation stone for the Discovery Campus of IIT Madras, which will be built at nearby Thaiyur at an estimated cost of ₹1,000 crore in the first phase over an area of 2 lakh sq m and the extension, renovation and modernisation of the Grand Anicut Canal System.
He said this year’s union budget showed the government’s commitment to reforms. “The world is looking at India with great enthusiasm and positivity. This decade is going to be India’s because of the hard work of 130 crore Indians.” He also highlighted the importance of conservation of water, saying it was not a national issue along but a global one. “Per drop more crop,” he added.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and other cabinet members, senior leaders of ruling AIADMK M Thambidurai, K P Munusamy and leaders from alliance parties participated in the event.
Earlier, the Prime Minister arrived at the Chennai airport and then flew in a chopper to INS Adyar from where he drove to the function venue. At the event, Modi, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam paid floral tributes to the portraits of the late Chief Ministers M.G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa
Modi also said that the issue of rights of minority Tamils in Sri Lanka was being taken up ‘consistently’ with leaders of the neighbouring country.
He also praised the farmers of Tamil Nadu for what he said were ‘record food production’ and water use. “I want to appreciate the farmers of Tamil Nadu for record food grain production and good use of water resources. We have to do whatever we can do to conserve water. Always remember the mantra of ‘Per drop, more crop”.
The coastal area of Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister said, has been given extra focus as the ‘fishermen community is a symbol of kindness.’
“Special importance has been given in the budget to develop the coastal area. Extra credit mechanism has been given in budget for fishermen, stressing on seaweed farming to improve the conditions of the fishermen community,” he said. He announced that a ‘Seaweed park’ will come up in Chennai. [The federal was unable to get details of the seaweed park announcement].
(With inputs from agencies)