PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi Thursday said that people were forced to migrate from coastal areas of Gujarat as successive governments post the Independence did not pay enough attention to the development of the coast.
He claimed that over the past two decades, his government has converted Gujarat’s coastline into the entry gate of the country’s prosperity by adopting a port-led development strategy.
“Bhavnagar is located on the sea coast. Gujarat has the longest coastline in the country. But it became a sort of big challenge for people because, for many decades after the Independence, not enough attention was paid to coastal development. Salty sweater was a bane for people here. Scores of coastal villages had emptied out. Scores of youth used to migrate to Surat where 10 or 15 or 20 of them would live out of one room,” said Modi said.
The PM was addressing a pubic meeting in Bhavnagar after launching 23 projects cumulatively worth Rs 6,627 crore spread across Bhavnagar, Amreli and Botad districts. They include laying the foundation stone of proposed CNG terminal worth Rs 4,024 crore , a first of its kind in the world, to be developed jointly by Foresight Group and Padmanabh Mafatlal Group at Nawa at Nava Bandar in Bhavnagar.
“These works are being done without any fuss or wasting money on big publicity drives because our goal has never been to win power but power has always been the medium of service for us”, said the PM in a purported reference to the billboard campaign by the Congress in Gujarat on its works in the years of its rule.
The PM also inaugurated 25-megawatt-capacity solar power plant in Palitana, a container manufacturing factory in Nava Bandar, Rs100 crore regional science centre in Bhavnagar, new bus station in Bhavnagar of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, package-7 of Link-II of SAUNI Yojana etc.
Modi, who had served as Gujarat chief minister from 2001 to 2014 said that his governments made sincere efforts to develop the coastline of Gujarat.
“Over the past two decades, we made sincere efforts to make the coastline of Gujarat the gateway to India’s prosperity. We have created innumerable opportunities of employment. We developed scores of ports in Gujarat and modernised many others,” said the PM while highlighting that today, there are three LNG terminals in Gujarat, including the first ever of India, petrochemical hubs etc.
The country’s largest private and public ports, Adani Port and Special Economic Zone in Mundra and Deendayal port (formerly known as Kandla port), are both located on the Kutch coast of Gujarat. “Today, scores of power pla-nts located on Gujarat coast are supplying power not only to Gujarat but the entire country,” Modi added.
Addressing the meeting, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said that ports along the Gujarat coast today handle 40 per cent of cargo landing on the country’s coast or being shipped from the country’s ports.
The Prime Minister said Gujarat’s coastline is emerging as the synonym of renewable energy. “Today, Gujarat’s coastline is playing a very big role in the import-exports business of the country while providing employment to lakhs of people,” he said.
The PM said that Bhavnagar is emerging as an example of port-led development. “Multi-modal connectivity of this port with various industrial clusters of the country will be ensured. Dedicated tracks being laid for goods trains will also give connectivity to this port and highways will provide even better connectivity… Bhavnagar port will play a big role in creation of an Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and create hundreds of opportunities of employment.” The Container Corporation of India, a PSU of the Central government has awarded a contract to Bhavnagar-based APPL Containers Private Limited for manufacturing 10,000 containers.
The PM said the container manufacturing industry can eye the global market. “Of late, we have been witnessing how big a crises can develop if we remain too dependent on any one country for containers. This is also a new and big opportunity for Bhavnagar,” Modi said.