The Governor of Maharashtra Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari ji, my Cabinet colleague Ramdas Athawale ji, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Ajit Pawar ji, other ministers of the Maharashtra government, former Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis ji, my Parliamentarian colleague Prakash Javadekar ji, Other Members of Parliament, Legislators, Mayor of Pune Murlidhar Mohol ji, Mayor of Pimpri Chinchwad Smt. Mai Dhore ji, all other dignitaries present here, ladies and gentlemen!
Presently the country is celebrating 'Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' marking 75 years of independence. Pune has a historical contribution in the independence of India. Lokmanya Tilak, Chapekar brothers, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Senapati Bapat, Gopal Krishna Deshmukh, RG Bhandarkar, Mahadev Govind Ranade ji - I pay my respectful homage to all the freedom fighters of this soil.
Today is also the death anniversary of Rambhau Mhalgi, who was dedicated to the development of Maharashtra. Today, I am also commemorating Babasaheb Purandare ji with respect. Sometime back I got the privilege of inaugurating the grand statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. This statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ji, who is eternal in our hearts, will instil the spirit of patriotism in the younger generation, the future generations.
Today several other projects related to the development of Pune have either been inaugurated or their foundation stones are being laid. I feel fortunate to have been invited by you to lay the foundation stone of Pune Metro earlier. And now you have also given me the opportunity to inaugurate it as well. Earlier, when the foundation stones used to be laid, nobody knew when the inauguration would take place.
This event is important because it also carries a message that plans can be completed on time. Today, work is also being started on a project worth Rs 1100 crore to make the Mula-Mutha river free from pollution. Today Pune has also got e-buses. The depot of e-bus has been inaugurated at Baner. I would like to congratulate Usha ji for everything. Today, Pune has also received another wonderful gift in the form of an art gallery museum dedicated to RK Laxman ji. I congratulate Usha ji and her entire family as I have been in constant touch with her. I congratulate her enthusiasm, dedication and hard work. She had been working day and night to complete the work. My best wishes to Usha ji & the entire family. Today, I congratulate the people of Pune for all these facilities and also congratulate both our Mayors and the entire team for moving ahead with several development projects at a fast pace.
Brothers and sisters,
Pune has been famous for its cultural, spiritual and patriotic consciousness. And at the same time, Pune has continuously strengthened its identity in the field of Education, Research and Development, IT and Automobile. In such a situation, modern facilities are the needs of the people of Pune. And our government is working on myriad fronts keeping this need of the people of Pune in mind. I travelled by the Pune Metro from Garware to Anand Nagar just a short while back. This metro will ease mobility in Pune, give relief from pollution and jams and at the same time increase the ease of living of the people of Pune. 5-6 years ago, when Devendra ji was the Chief Minister here, he used to come to Delhi every now and then for this project. With great ardour and enthusiasm he would follow this project. I wish to applaud his efforts.
This section is ready for service today even in the midst of the Corona pandemic. Solar power is also being extensively used for the operation of Pune Metro. This will stop the emission of about 25 thousand tons of carbon dioxide every year. I express my heartfelt gratitude to all the people associated with this project, especially all the workers. Your contribution will be of great help to the professionals of Pune, the students here as well as the ordinary citizens here.
You are all well aware of how fast urbanisation is taking place in our country. It is believed that by 2030 our urban population will cross 60 crore. The growing population of cities brings with them not just several opportunities but also challenges. Flyovers can be built in cities only to a certain extent. As the population increases, how many flyovers could possibly be built? Where would you make it? How many roads could you widen? Where would you do it? In such a situation, we have only one option - Mass Transportation. We need more construction of systems of mass transportation. That is why today our government is paying special attention to the means of mass transportation, especially metro connectivity.
Till 2014, there was a massive expansion of Metro in only Delhi-NCR region of the country. It had started reaching only 1 or 2 other cities around that time. But today, in more than 2 dozen cities of the country, the metro has either become operational or is going to start soon. Maharashtra also has a stake in this. Be it Mumbai, Pune-Pimpri Chinchwad, Thane or Nagpur, today the metro network in Maharashtra is expanding very rapidly.
Today, on this occasion, I want to request the people of Pune and of every city where metro is currently running. I want to make a special request to the upper strata of the society that no matter how big, rich or influential we are, every section of the society should inculcate the habit of travelling by the Metro rail. The more you travel by the metro, the more you will help your city.
Brothers and sisters,
In 21st century India, we also have to modernise our cities and add new facilities to them. Keeping in mind the futuristic city of India, our government is working simultaneously on several projects. Our government is trying to ensure that every city has more and more green transport, electric buses, electric cars, electric two wheelers and smart mobility; people are using only one card for transport facilities; every city has Integrated Command and Control Centre to make the facility smart; every city has modern waste management system to strengthen the circular economy; every city has adequate modern sewage treatment plants to make every city water plus with better conservation of water sources. The government is also ensuring that there are Gobardhan plants in every city to create 'Waste to Wealth' systems; there are biogas plants; every city emphasizes on energy efficiency and the streets of every city are illuminated with smart LED bulbs. We are moving ahead with this vision.
In order to improve the drinking water and drainage conditions in the cities, we are taking various initiatives under the AMRUT Mission. We also made a law like RERA to help the middle class families who were once troubled due to the absence of this law; who had to wait for years to get the house despite making the payment. The promises made on papers were never delivered. They used to get only promises except the house. So, there were several challenges. In a way, our middle-class families, who wanted to build a house with the entire life's savings, used to feel cheated even before the house was built. This RERA law is doing a great job to protect the middle class people, who want to build a house. We are also developing a healthy competition for development in the cities so that cleanliness becomes the main focus of the local bodies. These topics related to urban planning have also been given a lot of attention in this year's budget.
Brothers and sisters,
Pune's identity is also being developed as a centre for green fuel. We are focusing on biofuel, on ethanol, to get rid of pollution, to reduce foreign dependence on crude oil, and to increase farmers' income. Ethanol blending facilities have been set up on a large scale in Pune. With this, the sugarcane farmers in and around this area will also benefit a lot. Today, the Municipal Corporation has started several projects to make Pune clean and beautiful. These projects worth hundreds of crores of rupees are going to be very useful in freeing Pune from recurring floods and pollution. The central government is providing complete support to the Pune Municipal Corporation for the cleanliness and beautification of the Mula-Mutha river. If the rivers are rejuvenated, the people of the city will also get a huge relief, a new energy.
And I would urge the people living in the cities to celebrate the river festival once a year after fixing a date. We should inculcate a sense of reverence for the river, realize the importance of the river, and take training from an environmental point of view. Only then we will understand the importance of our rivers. Only then we will understand the importance of every single drop of water.
The most important thing for the development of modern infrastructure in any country is speed and scale. But for decades, we had such systems due to which the completion of vital projects used to take a long time. This sluggish attitude has been affecting the development of the country as well. In today's fast growing India, we have to focus on speed as well as scale. That is why our government has formulated the PM-Gatishakti National Master Plan. We have seen that often the reason for delay in projects is lack of coordination between different departments, different ministries and governments. As a result, even when a project was completed after years, it became outdated and lost its relevance.
PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan will work to remove all these contradictions. When work is done with an integrated focus and every stakeholder has enough information, then our projects will also be more likely to be completed on time. Consequently, people's problems will be reduced, the money of the country will be saved and people will also get the provisions sooner.
Brothers and sisters,
I am glad that along with modernity, the history and traditions of Pune as well as the pride of Maharashtra are being given equal place in urban planning. This land has been of inspiring saints like Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram. I got the privilege of laying the foundation stone of Sreesanth Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi Marg and Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg just a few months back. Taking pride in its history let this development journey of modernity continue like this. With this wish, once again my heartiest congratulations to all the people of Pune!
Thanks a lot!