Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday inaugurated and laid foundation stones for development projects worth Rs 514.15 crore undertaken by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and the Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) and said his government was working towards building cities where the happiness index was high.
The event comes as the term of the elected wing in the municipal corporations comes to an end with municipal commissioners to run the administration till the elections are held in February next year.
“Along with Ease of Doing Business, we also want to build cities where ease of living – that is a place where people can live a better life – and happiness index is high,” Rupani said.
With a 30,000-megawatt renewable energy park in Kutch, the CM said, Gujarat will soon become an electricity surplus state. It will also complete the ‘Nal se Jal’ work by 2022 to provide piped water connection to every household. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi (as the former chief minister of the state) had made Gujarat ‘uttam’ (good), and we are working in the direction to make it ‘sarvottam’ (best) with the use of latest technologies in a different department.”
He said, “The renewable energy park in Kutch is not only India’s biggest but also the world’s largest renewable energy park wherein 30,000 MW power through sun (solar) and wind can be generated. We wanted to make the Kutch border active and full of life so that infiltrators cannot enter into the country. If the border is not active, it is not secure.” The Prime Minister will inaugurate the renewable energy park in Kutch and five desalination plants in Mandvi on December 15.
The government, Rupani said, has also approved a proposed 2,000-metre-long Umbhrat-Surat bridge. The Rs 200-crore project will connect Abhwa in Surat city to Umbhrat beach in Navsari district and reduce the travel distance of 30 km by almost half.
Appreciating the Surat civic body’s tertiary treatment plant that converts sewage water into industrial grade water (treated water) which is then supplied to various textile factories in Sachin and Pandesara, Rupani urged other municipal corporations in the state to emulate the initiative.
“In the last five years, development works worth Rs 20,000 crore have been completed in Surat city alone. The works on the road, water, light, cleanliness, and drainage, have been done in such a way that Surat city ranked second in the Swachh Survekshan in the country… Today, ‘outsiders’ (people from outside Gujarat) comes to our cities and they wanted to stay here,” the chief minister said. He was addressing a gathering at Sanjeev Kumar Auditorium in Surat city.
The CM said five-year term of most local bodies were slated to end in December and due to Covid-19 the municipal corporation and district panchayat elections had been postponed to next year. “As the term of five years for the elected representatives end, they have been successful in the eyes of the people. They have fulfilled the hopes of the people and made the cities a place to live a happy life. All corporations in Gujarat are with the BJP, and for giving better services to the people, the elected leaders of municipal corporations worked with the officials without any differences. Many officials, hailing from other states, who meet me after their retirement, say, ‘sir, we have decided to spend our remaining life here in Gujarat and here we feel happy’. Gujarat is place where one likes to stay.”
“In the last five months, we have inaugurated and laid foundation stones of different development works worth Rs 20,000 crore. During the Congress-led government, they just held foundation stones laying programmes. Even after 10 years after those foundation stones were laid, the projects were not completed. When the BJP lays foundation stone, the party also inaugurates the projects. Our way of doing work is that before laying the foundation stone of any project, we check that all the related works, like obtaining all official permissions, finance approvals, fixing an agency through a tender process, are completed and check the deadline maintained,” he added.
When the first three cases of coronavirus were reported in Gujarat on March 18, the state’s budget of Rs 2.10 lakh crore had just been approved by the state Assembly, he said. “The budget was to be implemented from April 1 onwards. But the struggle had started since then and even till date we are struggling against coronavirus. We worked in the direction of ensuring fewer infection cases and a higher recovery rate. Even during the lockdown, we distributed food among the people and helped migrant workers to travel back to their native places,” the CM added.
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