Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Uttar Pradesh's capital Lucknow to review the progress under the prime minister's urban housing scheme, Nectar Scheme and the Smart City Mission in the three years since the schemes were launched.
Addressing the people of the state at a grand programme, Modi congratulated 35 beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), one from each state or union territory, at a mega groundbreaking ceremony to launch projects related to systematic urban development worth Rs 60,000 crore.
Speaking at the event, the prime minister said that the 81 new urban development projects being undertaken by the Yogi Adityanath-led government, with the help of the Centre, have not only improved the standard of living in Uttar Pradesh's cities but have also attracted investments to the state.
"The development work has led to the generation of investment intent worth more than Rs 4.28 lakh crore across sectors like renewable energy, infrastructure, power, IT and tourism, the statement claimed. Within a few months, investment proposals for 81 projects amounting to an investment of about Rs. 60,000 crore have materialised for groundbreaking," Modi said.
"The government is trying to provide a roof over every head by 2022. Keeping this in mind, 54 lakh houses have been sanctioned in urban areas in the last three years. More than 10 million houses have been handed over to the public, not just in cities, but even in the villages. We aim to build 1 crore houses by 2022."
Speaking of the results of urban development schemes, Modi also made a reference to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was an MP from the city for a long time.
Quoting Vajpayee, Modi said that the former prime minister firmly believed that new developments cannot happen without improving the old. He said that Vajpayee's statement was in reference to new and Old Lucknow.
Modi said, "With the same thinking, decades-old arrangements are being improved in many cities. Arrangements for the sewage system, drinking water system, improvement of street lights, beautification of lakes, ponds and parks are being arranged in these cities."
"In houses that are now being built, there are toilets (under Swacchh Bharat), electricity (under Ujjwala Yojna), LED bulbs under (Ujala yojna). This is a complete package. The area of the houses has also been increased."
Criticising the earlier governments, Modi said that previously people let the urban structures grow in a haphazard manner and never paid attention towards systematic development. "An entire generation had to suffer the consequences of this unplanned development, and another generation is now bearing the burdens of such neglect."
"This Smart City is not just a project for the government but is a mission to transform the nation. Our mission is to prepare our cities to deal with the new challenges of new India," Modi said. Modi said that the previous governments only focussed on developing their own bungalows while the urban infrastructure languished under administrative neglect.
"Our commitment is to create future arrangements for this generation, where life is based on Five Es: Ease of Living, Education, Employment, Economy and Entertainment"
The prime minister also used the occasion to target his political opponents. Referring to a charge made by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Modi said, "These days people are levelling a new allegation on me that I am a bhagidar (participant) not a chowkidar (watchman). But I am proud of my participation. I am party to the sorrows of the farmer who has just lost his crops, and I also share the problems faced by our poor labourers and workers. I am also a participant in the enthusiasm of our security forces who protect our borders facing the worst kind of weather and hostile situations."
He also briefly brought up the chaiwallah (tea-seller) jibe thrown at him in the run-up to the 2014 polls and said, "They wondered how can a tea-seller can become the pradhan sevak (meaning, chief servant: a substitute for the post of prime minister often used by Modi). But these are the decisions taken by the people of our country and not the select few."
He said he was extremely proud of his humble beginnings and the hardships he faced in life, because they have taught him about the ground realities of the nation.
This event marked the third anniversary of three key government initiatives related to urban development: Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation of Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and the Smart Cities Mission.
The prime minister visited an exhibition on Flagship Missions of Urban Development. He will interact with 35 beneficiaries of PMAY (U), one from each state or union territory, the statement said.
During his visit, Modi also received feedback from PMAY beneficiaries, via video link, from different cities of Uttar Pradesh and laid the foundation stone for various projects under the flagship missions. After addressing the gathering, the prime minister will leave for New Delhi in the evening and will come back for another programme on Sunday.
On Sunday, he will attend the ground-breaking ceremony for 81 projects which came to Uttar Pradesh during an investment summit organised by the state government in February.
The two visits are the latest in a series of trips by the prime minister to Uttar Pradesh, as the ruling BJP prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
A week ago, Narendra Modi was in Shahjahanpur to address a farmers rally. In the recent past, he has also been to Varanasi, Azamgarh, Mirzapur and Sant Kabir Nagar.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jul 28, 2018 20:28 PM