My young friends from Kashi, who are present here in large numbers and my brothers, sisters and friends of Kashi! My greetings to you all!
I am overwhelmed with the love and affection bestowed upon me by the people of Kashi. I feel like taking time out and visiting Kashi again and again.
Brothers and sisters,
It is really fortunate for me that I am beginning another year for serving the country with the blessings of Baba Vishwanath and Mother Ganga. Your affection and blessings inspire me every moment and strengthens the resolution of serving the countrymen.
In order to take this expression of service forward, projects worth more than Rs.550 crore have either been launched or foundation-stones have been laid.
These development projects are associated not only with Varanasi but also with the surrounding villages. It includes projects of basic necessities such as electricity and water as well as projects that promise new opportunities to farmers, weavers and artisans.
Moreover, new projects have been started to make the Benares Hindu University an important knowledge centre for the 21st century. I congratulate the people of Varanasi for these projects and offer my best wishes.
Whenever I am amidst you, I tend to always remind you that all our efforts at bringing about a transformation are being done keeping the culture and heritage of Kashi intact. Modern facilities and infrastructures are being assimilated with the city by preserving its age-old identity.
The difference between now and four-four- and-a -half years ago when the people of Kashi had made a resolution of change is explicit. Isn't it? Can you make out the difference or not? Can you see the change? Thank you!
Well, you are a witness to the situation where Kashi's condition was left completely to Lord Bholenath. Today I am extremely satisfied that with the blessings of Baba Vishwanath, we have successfully provided a new direction to the development of Varanasi.
Several years ago, every visitor of Kashi used to be pained by the deteriorating facilities and infrastructure of the city. Just like the dangling electricity transmission wires, Kashi too was entangled in its chaos. At that time, I had decided to transform the all-round chaos to all-round development.
Today we can see all-round transformation in Kashi. I vividly remember; before becoming a Parliamentarian, whenever I used to visit Kashi, I used to wonder looking at the dangling electricity wires that when Varanasi would be freed from this? You can see for yourself that those wires are not there anymore in most part of the city. Work is underway at a rapid pace in the remaining areas to lay down the wires underground.
The 5 major projects related to electrification that have been launched today also include making Old Kashi free from dangling electric wires. These projects will strengthen the objective of supplying sufficient electricity to several surrounding villages along with Varanasi. Besides, the foundation stone of another electricity sub-centre has been laid. After it gets ready, the nearby areas will be able to get rid of the issue of low voltage.
A lot of effort is being put to develop Varanasi as a gateway to the Eastern India. Therefore, the government's priority is to provide Varanasi with world class infrastructure. As per the needs of 21st century, facilities such as transport facilities, medical facilities and education facilities etc. are being developed.
Today Kashi is shimmering under the illumination of LED. The flow of mother Ganga is easily visible at night too from across the city. LED bulbs have not only illuminated your lives but also reduced the electricity bill. Varanasi Nagar Nigam has saved a lot of money after LED bulbs were installed.
Anyone who had visited Kashi four years back will now see expansion of new roads. For several years, discussion upon constructing a Ring road in Varanasi was going on but the plan was just on file. After 2014 elections, the Ring road file was taken up. The previous state government of UP at that time didn't allow this plan to progress because they were afraid that Modi would be hailed for its success. So, they tried to put the file in the cold storage.
However, as soon as you elected Yogi ji's government, the work is being completed at a rapid pace. A 4-lane road from Harhua to Ghazipur is almost done. Work on a new circuit from Harhua to Raja Talab and Chandauli is rapidly progressing. On this route, a bridge will be constructed over Ganga which will reduce the number of trucks entering Varanasi.
The construction of Kashi Ring road will benefit not only Kashi but also the surrounding districts. The roads emanating from here are extremely significant to reach Bihar, Nepal, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. This is the reason why the roads connecting the city of Varanasi within and with other states are being broaden and extended further. Crores of rupees have been spent on National Highway No. 7, that is, Varanasi-Sultanpur road, Varanasi-Gorakhpur section and Varanasi- Handiaroad link.
Brothers and sisters,
Work on several road projects worth thousands of crores rupees is underway within Varanasi. Earlier people had to face a lot of trouble while travelling between Mahmoorganj and Manduadih; the school students had to suffer a lot; I need not remind you of it. After ages, the work on Manduadih flyover is complete. Similarly, after the completion of Samnegat bridge over the river Ganga has made travelling to and fro from Ramnagar easy. The demand to broaden the AndhuraBridge was as old as the bridge itself. The work to broaden the AndhuraBridge was suspended for several decades. That work has also been completed. Work is underway in different parts of the city including broadening of Bojuvid-Sindhora road, making Shivpur-Phulwaria road into a 4-lane one and broadening the road between Raja Talab Police station and Jakhini. The work on development of important Panchkosi passage in terms of religious beliefs and tourism is also progressing at a rapid pace.
Approximately Rs.750 crores has been allocated for the construction of roads between BhagwatBridge and Court Road. You are already aware of the fact that earlier it was such a difficult road! A journey that should take a few minutes used to take hours. Often people used to miss their flights and trains due to heavy traffic jam. All these issues will definitely be eliminated after the completion of this road.
The people visiting the airports are witnesses to the fact that Varanasi is developing. The number of tourists coming to Varanasi by flight is increasing. Four years ago, about 8lakh people used to come to the Babatpur airport. This figure has shot up to 21 lakhs now.
The transportation system in Varanasi is being modernized in every possible way to bring about a Smart transformation in Smart Varanasi. Traffic system is being integrated so that a single mode of transport is not over-burdened. The integrated command and control center being built here is going to control the entire city's administration and public facilities.
Once the work of the fast-moving multi-modal terminal in Varanasi is completed, the city is going to emerge as a major hub for transport and logistics. This will increase the connectivity of roads, railways and water transport, which will benefit the businesses and industries here.
Work on developing a Ferry service is underway to help the Kashi visitors to reduce their travel time. Work on National Waterway No.1 between Varanasi and Haldia is underway. Work on turning the vehicles into CNG vehicles is going on at a rapid pace.
Brothers and sisters,
My happiness doubles when I see people posting photos of Varanasi Cantonment Station joyously on social media. Development work on stations like the Cantonment Station, Manduadih or city station has been expedited. Those are being modernized. The people travelling to Kashi by train can see pictures of New Kashi at the station only.
Besides, work of doubling the track connecting Varanasi with Allahabad and Chhapra is in progress. Electrificationwork from Varanasi to Baliya has been completed. The work of doubling and electrification of Varanasi-Allahabad City section is in progress.
Along with the infrastructure, the connectivity of Varanasi to the rest of the country via rail has also increased manifold. Many new trains have been started from Varanasi in the last four years. Trains like Varanasi-Delhi, Vadodara, Patna Mahamana expresses, Varanasi- Patna Janashatabdi express with modern facilities have also drawn the attention of the people. Railway connectivity of Varanasi with other cities like Hubli, Mysore or Guwahati has strengthened.
Now commuting to the city of Kashi has not only been made easy, but it is also being beautified. Now our ghats welcome the guests not by garbage but by lights. It is now possible to ride both by a boat as well as by cruise in the waters of Maa Ganga. Arrangements have been made so that devotees can easily reach temples. This campaign of transformation through tourism has been going on relentlessly.
Brothers and sisters,
For the past four years, work is underway to protect the legacy of Kashi and to beautify our heritage. Mahatma Gandhi had begun his freedom movement from Maidagin Town Hall. Efforts have been made to revive the pride of the Heritage Bhawan. It has again turned into its original form.
Big and important parks of Varanasi have also been restored, developed and beautified. Light and sound show has been arranged for tourists in Sarnath. In order to promote tourism, religious centres like Budhha theme park, Sarangnath pond, Gurudham temple, MarkandeyaMahadev temple have already been beautified.
Beautification of Bhairavkund, Sagarnathkund, Lakshmikund and Durganathkund has already been done. In the last four years, the people of Kashi have welcomed several leaders of different countries in a spectacular manner. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, France's President Macron and Germany's President Frank Walter have always praised and talked about the hospitality of the people of Kashi. Japan has, in fact, gifted aconvention centre to Kashi.
Everyone will have his eyes on the hospitality of Kashi in the beginning of the next year. In January, Kashi will organize Kumbh of Indians settled across the globe. Therefore, the government is working at its level for this. However, your cooperation is indispensable. Every resident of Kashi has to come forward. Varanasi's essence, hue and heritage must reflect in every corner and street. We need to set such an example of cleanliness and hospitality that our Indian diaspora remember it throughout their lives. And I wish that the people who come here during Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas have such a brilliant experience that they end up becoming tourism ambassadors of Kashi; so that wherever they go, they say fascinating things about Kashi.
Brothers and sisters,
Kashi has witnessed a change also in terms of cleanliness. Today, cleanliness is the new normal in the ghats, streets and every corner of Kashi. Robust solutions to not only cleanliness but also garbage disposal have been found. Fertilizer is being manufactured out of garbage by using modern techniques.
A huge factory has been established in Karsara to turn waste into fertilizer. Everyday several metric tons of waste are produced. That waste is then turned into compost. A waste to energy plant has been set up in Karsara itself. Electricity is produced by this plant. Besides, biofuel plants have been set up in Bhavaniya, Pokhari, PahariyaMandi and IDA complex.
Simultaneous efforts are going on to clean up mother Ganga from Gangotri to Gangasagar. Arrangements are being made to not only clean the river but also to inhibit the flow of garbage from the nearby villages and cities into the river. Thus, more than 200 projects worth approximately Rs.21, 000 crorehave already been approved.
In Varanasi, projects worth more than Rs.600 crores have been started with this motive. The Sewagetreatment plant in Dinapur and Ramana is progressing at a rapid pace. Work is also underway to create the infrastructure related to sewer plant. Along with the construction of thousands of new sewer chambers, more than 150 community toilets have also been constructed. Along with sewer work, efforts are going on to improve the drinking water supply system. In thousands of households the work of providing water connections and installing water metres is underway.
Facilities like road, electricity and water supply have been delivered to not only Varanasi but also to the surrounding villages. As a Parliamentarian, I have the responsibility of developing certain villages and Nagepur is one such village where a major water project has been launched. All the villages like Nagepur, Jayapur, Kakariya, Domri etc. are now being linked to facilities like roads, water and electricity. Several other arrangements like playground, self-employment centres, better facilities for farmers and health care facilities are also being provided.
Kashi is now emerging as a health hub for eastern India because of your active cooperation. Hospitals in different regions will turn Varanasi into a major medical centre of east India in the coming days. The new and modern trauma centre of BHU is saving the lives of thousands of people. New cancer hospital and super- speciality hospital of Varanasi which is under-construction will be playing a crucial role in providing modern facilities for treatment.
Recently, BHU has signed an agreement with AIIMS to develop a World Class Health Institute.
Today a Regional Ophthalmology Institute has also been inaugurated in BHU. About 54 years ago, LalBahadur Shastri ji had inaugurated the Ophthalmology department here. I have got the opportunity to extend this in the form of a regional centre. After this facility is completely developed, crores of people from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Nepal will be benefitted.
Moreover, the people of Kashi would no longer be required to travel to bigger cities for eye treatment. From cataract to serious eye diseases - all can be treated at a very low cost. Also, this institute will produce high quality doctors and will help in excelling in research.
Apart from setting up new hospitals, the existing ones have also been upgraded in Varanasi. The ESI hospital of Pandepur has been modernized at a cost of Rs.150 crore. Besides, the number of beds in the existing hospitals has also been increased. Private hospitals are also being encouraged. Besides, several healthcare centres and hospitals are being set up at Tehsil and Block levels.
After Yogiji of BJP has been elected in UP, all the work has been progressing at an unprecedented speed. I congratulate Yogiji and his team for joining the Ayushman Bharat. The trial of this scheme that promises free treatment of up to Rs.5 lakh to 50 crore poor brothers and sisters in the country is going on in several parts of the country including UP. This scheme will be implemented across the country from 23 September onwards.
Brothers and sisters,
The government has also emphasized upon strengthening education along with health. Malviya ji had dreamt of providing Modern Education alongside traditional education. In order to fulfill his dream and to expand BHU, several centres have been launched.
Vedic knowledge has been linked to 21st century science and future technological solutions. The Vedic age has been linked to the contemporary period. On one hand, foundation stone for Vedic Science Center has been laid, whileon the other hand,Atal Incubation centre too has been inaugurated.
We have attraction towards the future technology as much as pride in our ancient culture and traditions. This country with the strength of more than 80 crore youngsters is leaving an impression on the transient technological landscape. The Atal Incubation Centre was started in BHU by walking the path of future technology. This Incubation Centre of BHU will provide a new energy to the start-ups in the near future.
I was informed that 80 start-ups across the country want to join it and 20 start-ups have already joined it. I congratulate the youngsters of Varanasi for this centre and specially those who have the courage and this mind-set.
The work for giving a fillip to the rural economy and farmers has gained momentum over the past four years. The Perishable Cargo Centre in Raja Talab was launched in July. This cargo centre is not only saving the crops from getting damaged but also helping the farmers of Varanasi and surrounding areas in increasing their incomes by value addition. It not only stores vegetables like potatoes and tomatoes but is also very close to the railway station. This will facilitate the transportation of fruits and vegetables to other cities.
Besides, the work on the International Rice Research Centre is nearing completion. This means that Kashi is going to play a leading role in storing high quality paddy variety in the future. We are making arrangements so that the farmer brothers and sisters of Varanasi get an alternative source of income as well. We are encouraging the farmer brothers and sisters to take up animal husbandry and apiculture along with agriculture.
A little while ago, farmers were given boxes of bees. Here the prototype photographs werepresented, but the boxes have already been presented to them. This is the motive behind it. Bees not only help in increasing the yield but also are a medium of increasing income by honey production. You will be glad to know that the country is producing recordquantity of honey along with record yield of food grains
Brothers and sisters,
Varanasi and the Eastern India is a land of the weavers, artisans and the people who turn soil into gold. Trade Facilitation centres have been set up to provide technical support to the handicrafts industry and the artisans and craftsmen of Varanasi and connecting them to the new markets. Besides, Common Facilitation centres have also been set up at 9 places to provide better production facilities to the weavers. Warp machines are being handed-over to weaver brothers and sisters to make their work easier.
Moreover, the potter brothers and sisters and those craftsmen using mud and clay are also being provided technical support. Electric charge has been given to many brothers and sisters in this programme today. Besides, modern machines for pressing and drying the clay or mud are being handed-over to them. This will save your labour and also reduce the time of making vessels and decorative items.
Ceaseless efforts are being made to elevate the standard of living of every class of people in Varanasi. Kashi is now among the few cities where households have cooking gas pipelines. For this, pipelines have been laid from Allahabad to Varanasi. Till date, the gas pipeline connection has reached more than 8000 households in Varanasi. Work is underway to deliver this to more than 40 thousand households in the coming days. Besides, the UjjwalaYojana has made the lives of the women easier by providing more than 60 thousand gas connections in Varanasi and its surrounding villages.
Kashi is creating its future with a new zeal by walking on the path of SabkaSaathSabkaVikas. Work is going on for projects worth thousands of crores of rupees. Out of those infrastructure projects, several are on the verge of completion in just a few months. The development of this city will touch a new height after the completion of some of the major projects like the ring road from Airport to the court, the rice research institute, Binapur-Goytha sewer treatment plant, multi-modal terminal, a cancer hospital of international standard, etc.
These projects are opening up unlimited employment opportunities in Varanasi. The development of Varanasi has also opened up new possibilities for entrepreneurs. Come; let us together strengthen the resolution of this transformation in Varanasi with dedication. Let us contribute towards the construction of New Kashi and New India.
I once again congratulate you all for the new projects that have been started. I hope you will keep inspiring me with your love and blessings. Brothers and sisters, even though you have chosen me as your Prime Minister but I am responsible and accountable to you as a Parliamentarian. And today, I have shown you a glimpse of the work that I have done as a Parliamentarian in the past four years. I believe that as a representative of the people, as your servant; you are my boss or High Command. Therefore, it is my responsibility to give you the account of every penny spent and time utilized.
As a Parliamentarian, I am glad that I have got the opportunity to present before you the development and the work that have been done. Once again, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your affection and blessings.
Say along with me - Victory to Mother India!
Victory to Mother India!
Victory to Mother India!
Thanks a lot!