Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with schoolchildren in Naya Raipur on Thursday. PTI Photo
Development is the only answer to violence and conspiracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during a rally in Bhilai on Thursday. “I believe there is only one answer to any kind of violence or conspiracy… development, development and development. Development develops into trust which eliminates all kinds of violence. Be it the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, or the Raman Singh-led BJP government in Chhattisgarh, we have tried to develop an environment of trust through development,” Modi said.
This was the PM’s second visit to the state in two months. He inaugurated the expansion of Bhilai Steel Plant, a unified command centre at Naya Raipur, and a new airport in Bastar’s Jagdalpur town with flights under the UDAN scheme. Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh are slated towards the end of the year. With the first flights taking off from Bastar on Thursday, and the full schedule connecting Raipur, Jagdalpur and Visakhapatnam beginning on Friday, the PM said that earlier Bastar was known for “bombs and guns” but now it is known for the airport.
“In those areas, where the old governments would even back away from building roads, today there are roads and airports. I had said that it is my dream that those who wear hawai chappals should also travel in airplanes. With this is mind, new airports are being built across the country… At one time only six flights would come at Raipur airport. Now 50 flights come and go in a day. Distances will lessen, tourism will increase, industry will grow and with the new employment opportunities also increase,” he said.
Modi referred to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, calling him the inspiration behind Chhattisgarh.
On the Rs 18,000-crore modernisation and expansion of Bhilai Steel Plant, the PM said, “Bhilai has not only made steel, but Bhilai has decorated lives, served society, and made this country…. I have faith that the Nagarnar Steel Plant in Bastar will also change the face of the lives of the people in Bastar.”
He added, “I also got the opportunity to inaugurate the new integrated command and control centre at Naya Raipur. Water, electricity, street lights, sewage, transport and monitoring the entire city will happen from this small centre… Naya Raipur is now a symbol for other smart cities.”
Both Modi and Raman Singh said that the latter had approached the UPA government for an IIT in Bhilai, but received little response. “Raman Singhji came and we immediately decided on five new IITs,” the PM said.
“In this budget, the government announced 22,000 gramin haats. It is an attempt of the government that my adivasi brothers and farmers should find such an arrangement in 5-6 km which would connect them to a mandi in any part of the country through technology. Forest Rights Act is being enforced strongly,” the PM said. Chhattisgarh has an adivasi population of over 30 per cent.