National

Modi inaugurates Railway projects in poll-bound Bengal

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on February 22, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting ahead of the State Assembly election, in Hooghly district, West Bengal, on Monday   -  PTI

People here have made-up their mind for asol poriborton, says PM targeting TMC for tardy execution of development work

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday harped on the importance of infrastructure projects as a development index for West Bengal. While he said infra development was the priority for his government, Modi pulled up the ruling Trinamool Congress for tardy execution of development work.

Syndicates, extortion and cut-money have been a recurring poll theme in Bengal. The BJP had used it as a major rallying point in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls of 2019.

Addressing a public rally – his second in the poll-bound state this month – in the agri-dependent and one-time industrial hub of Hooghly, 30 kms from Kolkata, Modi centered his speeches around the need for setting up food processing units; farmers access to new markets outside the State to get a better price for their produce; and a possible industrial revival of the region, lined up with some operational jute mills and mostly closed factories.

“People want to invest in the state. But, then there is cut-money culture. Syndicates are ruling the roost. And all this drives away investments. Leave aside the construction sector (where such extortion happens), now taking places on rent or on lease also means paying middlemen,” he said.

“You will need food processing hubs. Potato and paddy farmers need to reach new markets outside the state if they are to get better prices. For that you need a change in government,” Modi said, clearly directing his address to farmers and local businessmen and blue-collar workers of the region.

Incidentally, the West Bengal government has recently announced the setting up of an agro-industry processing hub in Singur (Hooghly district).

Infra projects

Referring to the tardy pace of infrastructure projects in the state, Modi said, such projects play a major role in the development and improving the quality of life of people. Central schemes like Ayushman Bharat and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi are not implemented in the state, following objections by the ruling Trinamool Congress.

He cited the instance of Jal Jeevan Mission (which intends to provide tap water to rural households) as a case. Of the 1.5-1.75 crore rural households that have to be provided with tap water, connections have been made in only 2,00,000 households. This was amongst the slowest implementation of the project nationally.

“We have made a massive allotment of ₹17,00 crore plus for the Jal Jeevan Mission. And only 2,00,000 of the 1.75 crore beneficiaries have received connections. This is not fair. People here have made-up their mind for asol poriborton (actual change),” Modi said.

Poriborton or change was Mamata Banerjee’s slogan during her days in the Opposition.

Apart from the public rally, Modi also inaugurated a railway project, that include, Metro Railway extension that connected northern areas to the southern parts of the city.

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Published on February 22, 2021
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