Governor of Maharashtra ShrimanVidyasagar Rao, the popular chief minister of the state ShrimanDevendraFadnavisJi, my colleague in the union council of ministersShrimanNitin Gadkari Ji, Ashok GajapathiRajuJi, minister in the state government ShrimanRavindraChahvanJi, MLA ShrimanPrashant Thakur Ji, and my dear brothers and sisters present here in large numbers,
Tomorrow will be isthe occasion of the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shiva Ji Maharaj. And a day before that, today, this occasion in the district of Raigarh in itself is a happy co-incidence. Today, I got the opportunity of two programmes – first as our shipping sector, port sector and waterways have got a new spirit under the leadership of our Nitin Gadkari Ji and today under thatthe fourth terminal of JNPT in Mumbai is being dedicated to public.
We have been hearing this term globalisation, world trade from several years. However, we could not provide any benefit to the country just by sitting at home and discussing regarding the potential of the world trade. World trade will be beneficial only when you have the world class infrastructure to join the global trade.
royal personality, the first national personality to recognise the sea power was Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. And that is why, today there have been so many forts constructed which have been linked to the sea and because of that a feeling of sea prowess is there. Today, after so many years when we remember Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and when we publicly dedicate this fourth terminal of JNPT then we can imagine that what kind of foresight our great ancestors had and with what kind of foresighted vision they used to think.
If India wants to carve out a place for itself in the sea trade then India must increase her sea prowess manyfolds. The more we develop our ports, the more they become modern and the turnaround time should be minimized and the number of ships sailing at a fast speed should be increased and millions of tons of our goods should reach the world market. And sometimes there is a competition to supply the goods in time. Once an order has been finalized, once an economic agreement has been firmed up then if the goods are supplied in less time than the purchaser makes the profit. And if the supply is delayed then he incurs the loss. But it can be supplied only when our port sector has that kind of facility.
It’s not like that we only want to develop ports under the Sagarmala project. We place emphasis on the port led development so that we can take our facilities to a new height of development because it’s a challenge for us that how we can take advantage of this opportunity aswe have got a huge shoreline of seven and a half thousand kilometers; and we have got a geographic location that has a potential of becoming a world power in the field of ocean sector.
The government of India has taken up this task upon itself. The world talks about environment and one of the important sectors to solve the problem related to environment is transportation and in the transportation sector there are waterways. We have identified more than 100 waterways. And we feel that if we use waterways, if we use our rivers and sea shores for the transportation of goods in the entire country then we can supply goods at a fraction of cost. And we can also make our positive contribution by causing the minimum damage to the environment and we can also make our positive contribution in the ongoing fight against global warming.
Today, a green field airport in Navy Mumbai, and this is first large project of green field airport of this size in the aviation sector since independence. Now you can imagine that you have heard of it since last twenty years. The promises about it would have been made in several elections. Several MLAs would have been elected; several people would have become MPs on the basis of this promise. Several governments would have been formed but the airport was not built. And what is the reason behind that? The biggest hurdle behind this was the work culture of the previous government.
In 1997, when AtalBihariBajpai’s government was in power then it was dreamed of, then it was conceived and things were taken forward. And when I became Prime Minister, since I don’t have any other work as I got free time so I only do this thingday in and day out then it came to my mind after continuously searching for these things that it’s not only Navy Mumbai airport but there are several other important projects in India which were approved around thirty years ago, the approval was given in the file; sometimes the announcements were made twenty years ago; and sometimes a politician had installed a plaque, he got his photo published and also delivered a speech but that project never came out of that file and papers. So this was something which surprised me and which caused concerns.
So I started a project under the name of PRAGATI. I myself deliberate over these projects with all the chief ministers of the country, with all the secretaries in government of India by utilizing technology and I myself review their monitoring. And in that thing, as Devendra Ji was talking about a while ago, that this project was before me but nothing has happened in this regard. It was on papers, tomorrow someone will come, tomorrow, someone will issue a statement that it was approved in their time. There is no dearth of such kind of people. And,that is why, brother, please solve the problem by involving all the departments through PRAGATI. Why have you made a mistake if the policy was formulated at that time? And if you have not made a mistake then why today it has not been implemented? Please take forward things with the help of pointed queries? And you will be happy to know that with the help of monitoring through the PRAGATI the projects that were stuck for 20-30 years; and it was the culture of the previous governments to procrastinate, to put a spanner in the work and to confuse. This thing was happening. You would be surprised to know that there were projects worth Rs. 10 lakh crore which were kept suspended, which were stuck, and which were lost. And we have implemented them. We arranged funds for them and today those projects are going on at a fast pace. And the Navi Mumbai airport was one among them.
Our aviation sector has been growing at a rapid pace. As our GajapathiRajuJi explained in detail just a while ago thattoday there is more traffic at Mumbai airport alone than what was the total air traffic of the country 20-25 years ago. You just imagine that today Mumbai alone has this kind of air traffic which was there in the entire country. Today, the time has changed so much that if you go to an airport then you will find long queues of people waiting to board the aircraft as you see the long queues for boarding a bus. And you can see these things throughout the day at several airports of India.
We have been lagging far behind in terms of infrastructure in this sector as per the requirements of a rapidly growing aviation sector. Our effort is to increase the speed; our effort is to meet these requirements. We! You must have heard several years ago that the 21st century was approaching; you must have heard it since the decade of 80s that 21st century was approaching, it was published in news papers on daily basis. Everyday 21st century was discussed by the then Prime Minister. But the matter never moved forward beyond the mere word: the 21st century.
Had someone thought about what kind of aviation sector would be required in the 21st century 20-25 years ago then perhaps today we would not be required to work the way we work. This is such an important sector and there was no reason for having two views over its importance that its importance was going to increase. However, no government after the independence framed an aviation policy. We framed the aviation policy after assuming power. We will again commit a mistake as there was a time when the image of a Maharaja used to be there but today this aviation sector belongs to the common man. During the government of AtalJi we had an aviation minister, at that time I used to work in a corner in the organization. I asked him why they have kept the image of a Maharaja on the aircraft. During that period only the people of level of a Maharaja used to travel by air. I told him that he should use the image of a common man which was there in the cartoons made by Lakshman that the common man travels by air. And later it was started during the time of the government of AtalJi.
We said why not a person who wears a slipper in our country travel by air. We brought Udaan scheme. We have been working in the direction of making 100 airports functional either by constructing new ones or by improving the existing ones.
The aircrafts should fly to smaller destinations, small aircrafts with the capacity of 20-30 people,as today people need speed. And we framed a scheme, particularly for the North-East, under which the cost is Rs. 2,500. And we have been laying emphasis on the North-East because the region is full of a lot of difficulties and connectivity is extremely important there.
Brothers and sisters, you would be happy to note that in our country the total number of aircrafts which has been purchased or operated, the total number of planes that are in operation is around 450. Four hundred and fifty is the total number of planes, private and government all put together, that are operational in our country today. We have reached only to 450 planes since independence. You would be happy to note that in this year alone more than 900 new aircrafts have been booked by the people in the aviation sector. It means while only 450 aircrafts since independence and on the other hand 900 new aircrafts have been booked in just one year. You can imagine how fast the aviation sector has been growing.
And aviation sector brings new potential for employment. And as Devendra told you just a while ago that along with it the infrastructure will also be developed. How much vibrancy the economy receives due to water, due to land, and due to air? There is a study in the world that if 100 rupees are invested in the aviation sector then around 325 rupees are being generated through it with the time. It has this kind of strength. There is a lot of potential for employment. And it will also promote India’s tourism sector.
India is a country full of so much diversity that if there is proper connectivity then the foreign tourists cannot see a district properly even if they spend an entire month in that district. Our country is so full of diversity. This aviation sector, its strength will provide a new power to the country’s tourism sector. And tourism is such a sector where maximum livelihood can be created by minimum investment. So in tourism sector everyone will earn – be it a taxi driver or an auto rickshaw driver, be it guest house owner or be it a flower seller or be it someone who offers the services of a priest outside a temple; everyone earns.
And we have directly linked our effort to encourage aviation sector with tourism. And I believe that thisfoundation of laying Greenfield airport in Navi Mumbai today, and I always continue to ask in every programme that when it will be completed. Because you people know what was the experience during the earlier period. We are required to work extremely hard to get the country out of that work culture. But we will do it. If you have assigned us the work then we will finish it in any case.
And the kind of project I see these days in Mumbai and Maharashtra then I could have some broad visualize about the period of year 2022 and immediately after the year 2022. Please try to visualize a little what it will be like. Perhaps you could not think of it in the last 20-25 years. If we think of the year 2022, 2023, 2024, and2025 then you will see that aircrafts will start flying from this airport in Navy Mumbai.
During the same period your vehicles will be running on the 22 kilometer long Trans Harbour Link Road at full speed. During the same period the work on the double line suburban corridor in Mumbai would have been completed at a fast pace. Similarly, at the same time, in your region, all the projects related to sea, all the projects related to water, land, and railways will start emerging before your eyes. And on the other hand the grand statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj would also be ready. You can imagine how the scenario will change.
So I convey my best wishes to all of you that very soon you people get the opportunity to take a flight from this airport whilealso congratulating toShrimanDevendraJi, my colleagues in my team at the centre GajapathiRajuJi and Nitin Gadkari Ji and to all of them.