By Staff Reporter
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation, Rajkot International Airport and multiple development projects worth over Rs 860 crores in Rajkot, Gujarat today. The projects include Sauni Yojana Link 3 Package 8 and 9, upgradation of Dwarka Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS), conservation, restoration & development of Uparkot Fort Phase I & II; construction of a water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant, and flyover bridge among others. The Prime Minister also took a walkthrough of the terminal building of the newly inaugurated Rajkot International Airport.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that today is a huge day not only for Rajkot but the entire Saurashtra region. He paid tributes to those who suffered losses due to natural calamities in the region such as a cyclone and the recent floods. The Prime Minister remarked that the government and the people have faced the crisis together and assured that those affected are being rehabilitated with the assistance of the state government. He also mentioned that the central government is providing every possible support to the state government.
The Prime Minister said that now Rajkot is recognized as the growth engine of Saurashtra. He said despite its industry, culture and cuisine, the need for the International Airport was felt which has been met today. The Prime Minister recalled that Rajkot chose him as MLA for the first time and said that the city has taught him a lot. “The debt from Rajkot is always there and I always try to reduce that”, he added.
Referring to the airport inaugurated today, the Prime Minister said that apart from ease of travel, industries of the region will be hugely benefited from the airport. The Prime Minister said that Rajkot has realized the vision of ‘Mini Japan’ that he saw as the new Chief Minister. He said in the shape of the Airport, Rajkot has received a powerhouse that will give it new energy and flight.
Speaking about the Sauni Yojna under which various projects have been inaugurated today, the Prime Minister said that the completion of projects will lead to water supply for drinking and irrigation to dozens of villages in the region. The Prime Minister congratulated the people of Rajkot for the development projects of today.
In the last 9 years, the Prime Minister said that the central government has worked towards making the lives of every social class and region easier. “We have guaranteed ‘Sushasan’ or good governance and we are also accomplishing it today”, the Prime Minister said, “Be it the poor, dalits, tribals or the backward class, we have always worked towards improving their lives.” Underlining that the levels of poverty in the country are reducing at a very fast rate, the Prime Minister cited a recent report which states that 13.5 crore citizens have come out of poverty in the last 5 years and said that these people are emerging as a neo-middle class in the country. Therefore, the Prime Minister said, both the neo-middle class and the middle class are the government’s priority encapsulating the entire middle class.
The Prime Minister dwelled on the middle classes’ long pending demand of the past about connectivity. He listed the steps taken in the last 9 years to improve connectivity. In 2014, only 4 cities had Metro Network, today Metro network has reached more than 20 cities in India. Modern trains like Vande Bharat are running on 25 routes; the number of airports have more than doubled from 70 in 2014 during this period. “Expansion of air services has given new heights to India’s aviation sector. Indian companies are purchasing aircrafts worth crores of rupees”, he said. He also informed that Gujarat is moving forward in the direction of building aircrafts.
“Ease of living and quality of life is among the top priorities for the government”, the Prime Minister remarked. Recalling the inconveniences faced by people in the past, the Prime Minister mentioned the long queues at hospitals and utility payment centers, insurance and pension-related problems, and hassles in filing tax returns. He further stated that all these issues have been tackled by the Digital India campaign. He mentioned the ease of mobile banking and online filing for tax returns and also underlined that the returns are transferred directly into the bank accounts in a short time.
Talking about the importance of housing, the Prime Minister said “We took care of the housing needs of the poor and also fulfilled the middle class’s dream of a house.” He mentioned a special subsidy of up to 18 lakh Rs under the PM Awas Yojna for the middle class. More than 6 lakh families have benefitted, including 60 thousand in Gujarat, he informed.
The Prime Minister touched upon the fraud that took place in the name of housing and mentioned that the possession of the house was not given for many years during previous governments due to the absence of law. He further added that it is the present government which enacted the RERA law and safeguarded the interests of the people. “Today, the RERA law is preventing lakhs of people from being robbed of their money”, he added.
The Prime Minister said that in the past inflation rate had touched 10 per cent. He said that the current government kept inflation under control despite the pandemic and the war. “Today, inflation is increasing at the rate of 25-30 percent in our neighboring countries. But this is not the case in India. We have been trying to control inflation with full sensitivity and will continue to do so in the future”, he said.
The Prime Minister underlined that along with saving the expenses of the poor and the middle class, the government is also ensuring maximum savings in the pockets of the middle class. He mentioned that 9 years ago, tax was levied on annual income of Rs 2 lakh, but today those earning up to Rs 7 lakhs have to pay zero tax. “There is no tax on the income of Rs 7 lakhs”, the Prime Minister said as he noted that it is saving thousands of rupees every year for middle-class families living in cities. He also mentioned higher interest payouts on small savings and 8.25 percent interest being fixed on EPFO.
The Prime Minister gave the example of mobile phone usage cost to illustrate how policies are saving money for the citizens. He said that 1 GB of data used to cost 300 Rs in 2014. Today on average, 20 GB of data is used per person per month. This has resulted in a saving of more than 5000 rupees per month for an average citizen, he said.
Speaking about the Jan Aushadhi Kendras offering medicines at a cheaper price, the Prime Minister said that it is a blessing for those who ought to take regular medicines and informed that these kendras have helped save about Rs 20,000 crores of the poor and middle class. “A sensitive government for the poor and the middle class works like this”, he added.
The Prime Minister said that the government is working with full sensitivity for the development of Gujarat and Saurashtra. He touched upon the change that the Sauni scheme brought to the water situation of the region. “Dozens of dams and thousands of check dams in Saurashtra have become sources of water today. Under the Har Ghar Jal Yojana, crores of families in Gujarat are now getting tap water”, he added.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister said that this model of governance which has been developed in the last 9 years adheres to the needs and aspirations of every section of the society. “This is our way to build a Viksit Bharat. We have to prove the resolutions of Amrit Kaal by walking this very path”, the Prime Minister concluded.
Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Patel, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia, Member of Parliament, Shri C R Patil, Ministers from Government of Gujarat and Gujarat Legislative Assembly were present on the occasion among others.
The Prime Minister’s vision to improve air connectivity across the country gets a fillip with the development of a new International Airport in Rajkot. The Greenfield Airport has been developed in a total land area of more than 2500 acres and at a cost of more than Rs 1400 crores. The new airport has an amalgamation of modern technology and sustainable features. The terminal building is GRIHA -4 compliant (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) and the New Terminal Building (NITB) is equipped with various sustainability features like Double Insulated Roofing System, skylights, LED Lighting, Low Heat Gain Glazing etc.
Rajkot’s cultural vibrancy has inspired the design of the terminal of the airport and it will depict art forms from Lippan art to Dandiya dance through its dynamic external façade and splendid interiors. The Airport will be the epitome of the local architectural heritage and will reflect the cultural glory of art and dance forms of the Kathiawar region of Gujarat. The new airport in Rajkot will contribute not only towards the development of the local automobile industry of Rajkot but will also encourage trade, tourism, education and industrial sectors throughout Gujarat.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated development projects worth over Rs 860 crores. Sauni Yojana Link 3 Package 8 and 9 will help further strengthen irrigation facilities and provide drinking water benefits for the Saurashtra region. Upgradation of Dwarka RWSS will help provide adequate and potable water to villages by pipeline. Other projects being taken up include the Conservation, Restoration & Development of Uparkot Fort Phase I & II; construction of a water treatment plant; sewage treatment plant; flyover bridge, among others.