PM lays the foundation stone for national projects worth Rs 109 billion

01 Apr 2023 Long Read

At the Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati, Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the cornerstone and dedicated to the country numerous projects totalling more than Rs 109 billion. The projects include the opening of a 500 TPD Menthol Plant in Namrup, the laying of the cornerstone for a bridge connecting Palashbari and Sualkuchi on the Brahmaputra River, and the dedication of five railway projects to the country. The Prime Minister also saw a vibrant Bihu performance put on by more than 10,000 Bihu dancers.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister remarked that anybody watching today’s magnificent spectacle would never forget this in his entire lifetime. “It is beyond imagination, it is phenomenal. This is Assam” the Prime Minister said, “The sound of dhols, pepas and gogonas can be heard all over India today. The efforts and synergy of thousands of artists from Assam are being witnessed by the country as well as the world with great pride.” The prime minister emphasised the significance of the event and praised the artists' energy and excitement. The state is finally turning into an A1 state, the prime minister added, recalling his visit there before the Vidhan Sabha elections when he had predicted the day when voters would say "A for Assam." On the occasion of Bihu, the Prime Minister wished the nation and the people of Assam.

The Prime Minister said that Baisakhi is being celebrated in north Indian states including Punjab. While Bangla people are celebrating Poila Baisakh, Vishu will be celebrated in Kerala. This festival that is being celebrated reflects the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, and is an inspiration to fulfil the resolution of Viksit Bharat with Sabka Prayas, he said. He expressed happiness about the many projects of today including AIIMS, three medical colleges, railways projects, a bridge across the Brahmaputra and a methanol plant and the redevelopment and beautification of Rang Ghar.

The Prime Minister lauded the people of Assam for preserving their culture and praised the magnificent programme that they mounted today. “Our festivals are not just cultural extravaganza but are a medium to unite everyone and inspiration to move forward together”, the Prime Minister said. He continued “Rongali Bihu is a festival of heart and soul for the people of Assam. Removes differences and is a symbol of perfect harmony between humans and nature.”

The Prime Minister said that one of India's unique qualities is its long-standing traditions, which have bound all Indians together. He noted that despite suffering multiple harms to India's culture and traditions, the country stood unitedly against the dark era of slavery. He emphasised that despite the multiple changes in rulers who came and went, India remained everlasting. “The consciousness of every Indian is made from the soil and traditions of the country and it is also the foundation of the Viksit Bharat”, the Prime Minister remarked.

The Prime Minister mentioned the song Biswa Bijoy Nojawan by renowned author and film figure Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, noting how it has inspired young people throughout India and Assam. The audience gave Shri Modi thunderous applause as he sang the song. He clarified that the song calls on Indian youth to heed Mother India's appeal and act as change agents. “This song was written when Independent India was the biggest dream, today when we are free, Viksit Bharat is the biggest dream” the Prime Minister exclaimed calling upon the youth of India and Assam to move forward and open the doors of Viksit Bharat.

The Prime Minister elaborated on his interactions with people regarding how he accomplishes such sizable goals and who is accountable for Vikist Bharat, saying that it is the country's and the 140 crore Indian residents' belief in one another. He emphasised that current projects are a brilliant example of how the government attempts to remove any barriers that stand in the path of the citizen with the utmost honesty.

The Prime Minister recalled that for a very long time, connectivity was thought of in the very narrow sense of going from one point to the other. He said that the entire approach towards connectivity had been changed. Today, connectivity is a four-pronged enterprise (Mahayagya). These four dimensions, he said are - physical connectivity, digital connectivity, social connectivity and cultural connectivity.

Talking about cultural connectivity, Modi gave the example of the grand celebration of the 400th year of the great Assamese warrior Lachit Borphukan in Delhi. He illustrated cultural connectivity by talking about Rani Gaidinliu, Kashi Tamil Sangamam, Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam, and Kedarnath-Kamakhya. “Today the connection is being deepened between every thought and culture”, he said. He referred to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s recent visit to Madhavpur Mela and said that this bond of Krishna Rukmani connects Northeast to Western India. He also said that after Muga Silk, Tezpur Lesu, Joha Rice, Boka Chaul, Kaji Nemu; now Gamosa also got the GI tag, this is an attempt to take the Assamese art and labour enterprise of our sisters to the rest of the country, he added.

Noting that the conversations about different cultures of India are taking place all around the world through tourism, the Prime Minister said that the tourists who visit these places not just spend money on the experience but also take a part of the culture with themselves as memories. However, the Prime Minister continued, there was always the issue of lack of physical connectivity in the Northeast which is being addressed by the present government by laying emphasis on road, rail and air connectivity in the region. Highlighting the achievements in expanding connectivity in the last 9 years, the Prime Minister mentioned all-road connectivity to most of the villages in the Northeast, new airports that have become functional and commercial flights landing for the first time, broad gauge trains reaching Manipur and Tripura, new rail lines are being laid in the Northeast three times faster than before, and the doubling of rail lines taking place at almost 10 times faster than earlier. The Prime Minister highlighted that five railway projects that have been inaugurated today worth more than 60 billion rupees will accelerate the development of a large part of the region including Assam. The Prime Minister further added that rail has reached a large part of Assam for the first time and the doubling of rail lines will provide easy connectivity to Assam as well as Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland. He also noted that travelling to places of faith and tourism will now become easy.

Governor of Assam, Shri Gulab Chand Kataria, Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Minister for Railways, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Rameswar Teli and Minister from Government of Assam were present on the occasion among others.

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