Vowing to rid the country of the ‘disease’ of corruption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said his government will take tough measures to eliminate the menace which is ‘more dangerous than cancer’.
"Corruption is dangerous and spreading more dangerously than cancer. It is destroying the country.
“Strong steps are needed to eradicate it," he said at a public meeting while inaugurating a highway project at Kaital in Himachal Pradesh.
"You tell me if we should take tough measures against it (corruption). I need your blessings.
“With your blessings, I will rid the country of this disease," said Modi, who was on his maiden visit to the state after becoming Prime Minister.
He noted that many people said he did not speak against corruption in his Independence Day speech which, he added, was not true as he had this issue on mind when he spoke about ‘mera kya (What about me), mujhe kya (It does not concern me)’ syndrome in society. This was about corruption, he said.
"This (corruption) has ruined the country. . . It is more dangerous than cancer.
“We have to make national mood against it. I sense that people are no longer ready to live with it," he said.
Turning his focus on development, he said the infrastructure of the 20th century would not do in the 21st century as times have changed and ‘we will have to think ahead’.
"Rains come and roads disappear.
“Nobody knows where money goes. . . Only road or rail network will not fulfil the infrastructure need of the 21st century.
“We have to lay optical fibre cable and connect our villages with gas and water grids," he said.
His government, he said, is striving to meet the aspirations of the new generation.
Stressing that development is the only solution to the problems facing the people, he said, "A nation which gives impetus to infrastructure be it roads, rail or airport, that is where chances of development increase".
The Prime Minister stressed upon taking stringent measures to rid the country of corruption.
"I feel that people of the country are no longer ready to tolerate it (corruption)," he said.
Pointing towards the gathering, Modi said "the sea of people gathered here has given a message that they have a lot of faith in development."
Holding that NDA's "priority" was development, he said, "If there is all round development, the country will surge ahead."
Employment will only come with development, he said.
He said that for the speedy progress of the country, "besides rail, road and air connectivity, there is need to lay emphasis on optical fibre network, setting up of gas, power and water grids and ensure that modern technology reaches every household."
He said that his government was keen to take the benefits of modern technology to the villages.
Seeking to woo the people of Haryana where assembly election are due later this year, Modi said he has special affection for the state and he will return their 'love with interest' by carrying out developmental works.
BJP had bagged seven out of 10 seats in the state in the recent Lok Sabha elections and has mounted a strong challenge to dislodge Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government in coming polls.
Modi said his government will resume the central developmental projects in the state, which have been delayed for years, and expedite them.
Reaching out to farmers, he announced a new irrigation scheme, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojna, saying farmers fill up granaries and his government will ensure that their pockets are also filled, which is presently not the case.
He said that agriculture had to be made profit oriented so that farmers are benefited by selling their produce.
He said that the irrigation scheme will ensure each farmer's land gets sufficient water to irrigate his fields.
The new scheme will be on the lines of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yonja, conceptualised during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure as Prime Minister.
Highlighting the importance of national highways in the development of a state, he said areas around them in Haryana have developed but as one goes farther from them, the lack of progress is visible.
To accomplish this, there is need to have modernisation in agriculture sector and emphasis should be laid on livestock management, he said, adding that youth in villages must be benefited by long distance education through modern technology.
"I assure people of Haryana the kind of love and faith they have reposed in him he will revert it with interest by way of development of the state," he said.
He said that he knew about Haryana as much he was aware of Gujarat and had learnt a lot by staying in this state in the past.
Earlier Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also spoke on the occasion.
He put forward eight demands relating to roads and rail before the Prime Minister.
Also present on the occasion were Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Union minister Nitin Gidkari, Minister of State Krishanpal Gujjar, Union minister Rao Inderjit Singh and Haryana cabinet minister Randeep Singh Surjewala.
Talking about the new road project, Modi said that this road will benefit both Haryana and Rajasthan.
"Not only trade and transport will flourish by way of development of this road in Haryana and Rajasthan, but the entire country will be benefited by it," he said.
He said that certain progressive central schemes are still pending in Haryana for the past two to four years.
"These will be completed on fast pace," he said.
Modi said that to bring the state in the list of progressive states, the government at the Centre and in Haryana should work jointly.
Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi