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West Bengal can fuel the economic development of the East: Modi

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on October 22, 2020

West Bengal has the potential to be hub of all eastern and north-eastern States of India and spur the economic growth of the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

Addressing the people of Bengal through a virtual rally, the Prime Minister pointed out that different Central schemes had been floated in this regard including the Purvodaya scheme.

The Purvodaya scheme is aimed at accelerated development of the eastern region through an integrated steel hub. It was launched by Dharmendra Pradhan, the Union Minster for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel earlier this year.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that the Centre was aware and working on improving connectivity issues between Bengal and some of the neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh.

“There is potential in West Bengal to emerge as a hub for the eastern region and fuel its economic growth,” Modi said.

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Bengal infrastructure development

The Centre, he said, was also taking steps towards infrastructure development in the State.

Around ₹8,500 crore was sanctioned as part of the ongoing construction work of the East-West Metro Railway project. The project will connect the extreme eastern part of the city and its IT-hub (called Salt Lake) to the western outskirts and Kolkata’s twin city, Howrah. A part of the project will also go underwater, through the River Hooghly, making it the first such unique project in the country.

According to Modi, Central schemes like Housing for All, free gas connections under the Ujjwala Yojana and opening of Jan Dhan Accounts have benefitted lakhs here.

Nearly, four crore people have opened accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana; while free gas connections were provided to 90 lakh people (particularly women-folk). Another 30 lakh has benefited from the Housing for All scheme; while four lakh households now have piped water supplied to them.

Wooing Bengalis ahead of 2021

This incidentally is the first time that the Prime Minister is making a direct address to the people of Bengal ahead of the Durga Puja festival.

Political analysts say, the address timed on Shasti — the sixth day of Navratri and the first day of Durga Puja — is also aimed at reiterating the Central projects that are underway in Bengal ahead of the crucial 2021 Assembly polls.

The move is also seen as a “pep talk” for grassroots workers.

Even during his address, the Prime Minister repeatedly referred to luminaries from Bengal and their contribution towards shaping not just the State, but India as a whole. His speech, made on-and-off references to slokas that are popular during Durga Puja. The speech juxtaposed Bengali, Sanskrit and Hindi.

Published on October 22, 2020

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