Narendra Modi in Kolkata: PM meets Mamata Banerjee amid anti-CAA protests, inaugurates sound and light show at Howrah Bridge

  • Youth Congress activists assembled outside Kolkata airport and shouted slogans against Prime Minister Modi demanding that he should not be allowed to land in the city

  • The prime minister who is on a two-day visit to take part in the 150th anniversary of the Kolkata Port Trust also met West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee

  • Modi also announced that five iconic museums of the country will be developed to international standards starting with the Indian Museum in Kolkata

  • Later in the evening, the prime minister inaugurated a sound and light show at the iconic Howrah Bridge from the Millenium Park on the banks of the Ganga

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, attended a cultural event and inaugurated a new light and sound system as part of 150th Kolkata Port Trust anniversary on day one his two-day visit to the city.

Modi and Banerjee met for a short while at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata where the two leaders briefly discussed the Citizenship Amendment Act, the proposed NRC, and Cyclone Fani on Saturday even as protests were staged across the city, including outside the airport, against the CAA and NRC.

Modi announces plan to upgrade five museums The prime minister inaugurated a sculpture while dedicating to nation four refurbished heritage buildings of the city —  the Old Currency Building, the Belvedere House, the Metcalfe House and the Victoria Memorial Hall. Speaking at the event, Modi announced that five iconic museums of the country will be developed to international standards starting with the Indian Museum in Kolkata.

 Narendra Modi in Kolkata: PM meets Mamata Banerjee amid anti-CAA protests, inaugurates sound and light show at Howrah Bridge

Prime Minister Narendra and West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar at an art exhibition in Kolkata. PTI

"We want to show before the world our country's heritage, want to make India a hub of heritage tourism. Five iconic museums of the country will be developed to international standards, starting with the Indian Museum in Kolkata," the prime minister said, adding that one of the key aspects of nation-building is to preserve the country's heritage.

The prime minister also said that several important aspects of the country's history were overlooked by historians who wrote about it after Independence without delving deeply into the subject. "It is unfortunate that during the British rule and even after Independence, the history that was written overlooked several important chapters," he said.

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, writing in 1903, said India's history is not that what students study for examinations, Modi said, addressing a programme at the Old Currency Building.

"Some people came from outside, killed their own relatives, brothers for the sake of throne... is not our history. This was said by Gurudev himself. He had said in this history, it is not mentioned what the people of the country were doing. Didn't they have any existence?" he said.

The prime minister also met with a delegation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) in Kolkata.

Modi inaugurates light and sound system

Later in the evening, the prime minister inaugurated a sound and light show at the iconic Howrah Bridge from the Millenium Park on the banks of the Ganga.

The two and a half minute show and sound system is installed at the Millenium Park and is part of a project of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) 150th-anniversary celebrations.

The show will replace the existing decorative lighting with 650 power-efficient LED and spotlight fittings for programmable multi-colour lighting, including a show that will sync with music.

Banerjee, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union Minister of Shipping (Independent charge) Mansukh Mandaviya were also present at the glittering programme organised by the KoPT at the park, which is situated about 2 kilometres from the bridge.

After inaugurating the sound and light show, Modi left for Belur Math, the global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission by the river route.

The cantilever bridge was built by the British and opened to the people in 1943 in the midst of World War II replacing a pontoon bridge at the same location and linking Kolkata and Howrah.

The bridge, considered to be the busiest cantilever bridge in the world, was renamed as Rabindra Setu in 1965.

More than 1.15 lakh vehicles from both Kolkata and Howrah ply on it in daily, besides over five lakh pedestrians from both sides.

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Updated Date: Jan 11, 2020 22:05:56 IST