Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Bundelkhand expressway and said that attempts were being made by “some people to collect votes by distributing free rewris (sweets)” and that the “double-engine government is not taking this shortcut”.
“Today in our country, attempts are being made to collect votes by distributing free rewris (sweets). This rewri culture is very dangerous for the development of the country. People of the country, especially the youth, need to be careful of this rewri culture. People of the rewri culture will not build new expressways, new airports or defence corridors for you. They feel that by distributing free rewris to people, they can buy them. Together we need to defeat this thinking of theirs. The rewri culture needs to be removed from the country’s politics. Away from the rewri culture, we are living up to the expectations of people by building roads and new rail routes. For the poor, we are building new houses, completing irrigation schemes, building dams, setting up electricity units so that poor and farmers’ lives improve and the future of our youth does not drown in darkness,” said the PM after the inauguration.
The PM was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak and other dignitaries.
The 296-km-long Bundelkhand expressway will connect Chitrakoot in the underdeveloped Bundelkhand region with the Lucknow-Agra Expressway near Etawah. The fourth expressway project in the state, it has been completed in record 28 months – 8 months ahead of its deadline, the government said. Modi laid the foundation of the project in February 2020.
On Saturday, Modi said the way UP was developing under the double-engine government was astonishing. “Remember one thing I say, and tell people again and again. It took 40 years to complete the Saryu canal project. The Gorakhpur fertiliser plant was shut for 30 years. UP which took 12 years to complete the Arjun Dam scheme. The rifle warehouse in Amethi just a board. The Rae Bareilly rail factory didn’t make coaches… The same UP is seeing work on infrastructure with such seriousness that it has left even the good states behind. The image of UP is changing across the country. Are you proud or not?” asked Modi.
Modi said that not just highways and airways, but other sectors like education, manufacturing, farming were also seeing UP move ahead.
“In UP, every year 50 km of rail tracks were doubled… Now, every year doubling is done on an average 200 km. Before 2014, UP had only 11,000 common service centres. Remember the number. Now, there are more than 1.30 lakh common service centres. At a time only 12 medical colleges were there in UP. Now, there are 35. And work is being done on 14 medical colleges,” said Modi.
The PM listed projects which were started and inaugurated under the BJP government. “The Kashi Vishwanath Dham beautification project was started by our government and completed too. The same for the Gorakhpur AIIMS. The Delhi-Meerut expressway too. The Bundelkhand expressway is an example too. The work on this was supposed to be completed next year in February, but it was done 7-8 months in advance. Despite the problems of Covid, we have completed the work before time. This kind of work makes the people realise that the emotion behind their vote is respected,” said Modi.
“This expressway is dedicated to the proud legacy of Bundelkhand. A land that gave birth to innumerable brave people. Where the blood flows with Bharat Bhakti… I gift this expressway to that Bundelkhand. As an MP and people’s representative, I am feeling a special happiness dedicating this to you. For decades, I have been coming to UP. Due to the blessings of UP, I have been made the ‘pradhan sewak’ of the country for the past eight years and have been given the responsibility to work for the country. But I have always seen that if two things were given to UP, then UP could stand up to the challenges. The first issue was the bad law and order situation… And the other was the bad connectivity. Today, the people of UP under the leadership of Yogi Adityanathji have changed the picture of UP. Under his leadership, the law and order has improved and the connectivity is also improving at a fast pace,” said the PM.
“In UP today more work is happening in ensuring better connectivity than it was done in the past seven decades since Independence… The distance from Bundelkhand to Delhi has decreased by three-four hours. This is not the only benefit… This will also give pace to the entire Bundelkhand’s industrial development. On both sides, multiple industries will be set up,” said Modi.
The PM said that thanks to the expressway, the industrialisation of the farm sector in the region would become easier.
“The defence corridor will also be helped by the expressway, which means that the expressway will bring development, new opportunities and employment to all corners of Bundelkhand. There was a time when it was thought that the best traffic facilities were for big cities… But now, the government’s approach has changed. And this Modi and Yogi. Now, the old thinking has been left behind and we are moving forward in a new way. After 2017 in UP, the work on connectivity has been given primary attention to small cities as well along with big cities,” he said.
“Every corner of UP is ready to run fast… This is sabka saath, sabka vikas. No one should be left behind, and they should move forward together. And the ‘double-engine’ government is working towards this. So that small districts of UP are connected with air services and work is being done at a fast pace,” said Modi.
“Today when I was coming to the stage, I saw a presentation on the Bundelkhand expressway. And I saw that the places near the expressway have forts. Not just Jhansi, but others too. And those familiar with foreign countries would know that in Europe, there is a fort tourism industry… I would ask Yogiji to build a tourism circuit so people from across the world come here to see the forts. I would also make another request to Yogiji that when winters come, you should start fort-climbing competitions… And this will lead to people coming here, and it will give people reason to come and stay here and spend money and it will be a huge power for livelihood,” said the PM.
“The balanced development of the country is when modern facilities and development reach small cities and villages. This is also social justice in a true sense… The people of Bundelkhand who were deprived all these decades. And now when modern infrastructure has reached here, it is in a way social justice,” said the PM.
Th PM said, “We are also working on the Jal Jeevan mission to make water reach every house through pipes. Under this mission, lakhs of houses of Bundelkhand have been given water connections. And this has benefited our mothers and sisters.”
“Today, the world is looking at India with expectations. We are celebrating 75 years of Independence. We are creating a road map for the next 25 years. Today when I am in Bundelkhand, from the birthplace of Rani Laxmibai… For this, our forefathers fought for hundreds of years… We should create a road map that for the next one month, every village should have programmes and celebrate Independence,” said the PM.
Welcoming Modi on behalf of the state’s 25 crore people, Adityanath said, “Today is a historic day for Bundelkhand when a 296-km long expressway is being inaugurated by the prime minister… This will give new impetus to the economy of Bundelkhand and UP.”