Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated and laid foundation stones of eight projects worth around Rs 7,600 crore in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur and said the Centre has been providing modern facilities to those facing injustice for decades.
During an event held at the Science College ground in Raipur, Modi also virtually flagged off a new train between Antagarh in Kanker district and Raipur and kickstarted the distribution of cards of the Centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme to beneficiaries in the state.
Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh are due by the end of this year.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi said Chhattisgarh is on Friday receiving projects worth more than Rs 7,000 crore in sectors like infrastructure and connectivity and they will open up ample job opportunities for the people of the state, ease their lives, create a business environment and add momentum to development.
The Centre has been developing infrastructure in the areas that have been lagging in the race of development, he said.
“Another benefit of infrastructure which is seldom discussed is that it is related to social justice. The Centre has been providing modern facilities to those who have been facing injustice and lack of facilities for the last several decades,” he said.
The rail lines and road networks have been connecting the settlements of the poor, Dalits, backward, and tribals, he said.
He said that modern infrastructure development can also be witnessed in Chhattisgarh where, in the last 9 years, road connectivity has expanded to thousands of tribal villages of the state under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana'.
The government has approved 3,500 km of national highways in Chhattisgarh, out of which about 3,000 km have already been completed, he said.
Nine years ago, more than 20 per cent of the villages, mostly affected by Maoist violence, in Chhattisgarh did not have network connectivity, but today it has come down to six per cent, he said, adding that the farmers and labourers of the region are the biggest beneficiaries of this change.
The Centre has been installing more than 700 mobile towers for connectivity in remote areas and out of which, 300 have been installed, the PM said. In those villages where earlier mobile phones went silent, now phones ring there, he said.
“All these measures are social justice. It is sabka sath, sabka vikas,” the PM added.
Mentioning the two under-construction economic corridors, Raipur-Dhanbad Economic Corridor and Raipur-Visakhapatnam Economic Corridor, he said these projects will change the fortunes of the entire region.
The economic corridors are passing through aspirational districts that were once called backward, and where violence and anarchy once prevailed, he added.
Raipur-Vishakhapatnam Economic Corridor, for which he laid the foundation stone on Friday, will reduce the distance between the two cities, PM added.
He also said that the six-lane Raipur-Vishakhapatnam Economic Corridor will connect the paddy belt of Dhamtari, the bauxite belt of Kanker, and the richness of handicrafts of Kondagaon to other parts of the country.
The PM also highlighted that tunnels and animal passes will be constructed on this corridor as it will run through wildlife regions.
At the event, the PM dedicated the national four-laning of the 33-km-long Raipur-Kodebod section of the National Highway 30, the 53-km-long four-lane Bilaspur-Pathrapali stretch of NH-130.
He laid the foundation stone for the construction of three sections -- Jhanki-Sargi (43 km), Sargi Basanwahi (57 km) and Basanwahi-Marangpuri (25 km) -- as a part of the six-lane Raipur-Visakhapatnam Economic Corridor NH-130 CD.
He also dedicated to the nation the doubling of the 103-km-long Raipur-Khariar Road Rail Line, built at a cost of Rs 750 crore, a 17-km-long new railway line connecting Keoti-Antagarh, and a bottling plant of the Indian Oil Corporation with a capacity of 60,000 metric ton per annum in Korba constructed at a cost of over Rs 130 crore.
Besides, the prime minister also kickstarted the distribution of 75 lakh cards to beneficiaries under the Ayushman Bharat and flagged off a new train from Antagarh (Kanker district) to Raipur.
Chhattisgarh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, his deputy T S Singhdeo, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya and others were present.