Kochi, Feb 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who launched various new projects of central public sector organisations in Kerala’s Kochi on Sunday, announced that his government us looking at building infrastructure worth Rs 110 lakh crore to power India’s rise.
During his flying visit, amid tight security, to Kerala’s commercial capital, Modi who inaugurated the five new projects from a single venue, said the definition and scope of infrastructure has changed and it includes roads and connectivity.
“We are looking at quality and quantity infrastructure of Rs 110 lakhs crore. India is embarking on broadband connectivity for all our villages. Likewise, India has given top most importance to ‘blue economy’… I call upon researchers and fisheries sector for creating more infrastructure, which will be a great tribute to our fishermen,” he said.
Among the projects were the dedication of BPCL’s Rs 6,000-crore propylene derivatives petrochemicals project to the nation, the launch of Sagarika, the Cochin Port’s new Rs 25 crore international cruise terminal, laying the foundation stone for Cochin Port’s reconstruction of the south coal berth and a new knowledge centre of Cochin Shipyard Ltd Vigyana Sagar among others.
Modi, who began his speech by saying that it is always wonderful to be back at Kochi- Queen of the Arabian Sea, touched on all these projects.
“We have gathered here to celebrate the development of Kerala and India through the wide-ranging sectors which will energise the growth trajectory of Kerala. The projects that have been dedicated will help increase foreign exchange, besides offering wide ranging job opportunities,” he said, adding that economic growth requires augmenting existing capacities.
With the Assembly elections round the corner, Modi also sought to emphasise what his government has done for Kerala.
“This year’s budget has sufficient reasons for Kerala to be happy as the second phase of the Kochi Metro has been sanctioned,” he said.
He also took time to elaborate on the steps taken to bring back the diaspora from various Gulf countries.
“The year gone by saw several challenges especially the fight with Covid and we were considerate to the diaspora. We brought back 50 lakh Indians which included a good number of Keralites. In the last year we saw several Gulf countries who have to be thanked for the release of prisoners. We (Centre) are always with you for your needs,” he said.
Noting India is standing at a historic point, he said: “Our actions of today will shape the growth trajectory of India and we all should work to create a strong Atma Nirbhar Bharat.”
Modi, who was earlier in Tamil Nadu on Sunday, arrived at the airport of the Southern Naval Command at around 3.15 p.m., about half an hour behind schedule.
The police and the SPG had taken over the entire place after reports surfaced that the Congress workers might stage a protest.
He was received at the airport by state PWD Minister G.Sudhakaran and others.
From the airport he took a helicopter to the Rajagiri educational group’s ground and reached the inauguration venue by road. En route, he was greeted by a large number of BJP workers.
Timely action by the Special Protection Group (SPG) foiled an attempt by activists of the youth wing of the ruling CPI-M to stage a protest against Modi while he was driving down to the venue here.
Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) activists had planned to protest on the roadside along Modi’s route to the venue and were seen carrying 500 black balloons.
However, the SPG swung into action and took over the area where the protests were to be staged and banned all assembly. The activists had to move out and were seen standing a kilometre away from the route that Modi was travelling where they decided to continue their protest.
DYFI activists said that their protest was against ever-increasing oil prices and also the way public sector units are put up for disinvestment. “The main event of his on Sunday is the inauguration of BPCL’s Rs 6,000 crore propylene derivatives petrochemicals project and this is happening when all steps have started for the disinvestment of BPCL as talks are in the final stages with the Vedanta group which is eyeing its takeover,” an activist alleged.
Joining Modi’s motorcade to the inauguration venue were Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and others.
Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh L. Mandaviya, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan also shared the stage with Modi.
After his programme, Modi attended the core committee meeting of the state BJP unit, before his return to the national capital.