Addressing a rally organised by the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh to mark its first anniversary in the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said that Central government projects worth Rs 26,000 crore were underway in Himachal Pradesh.
The rally in Dharamshala assumes significance as it comes in the run-up to next year’s Lok Sabha polls. Currently, BJP holds all four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal. On the occasion, Modi also released Himachal government’s booklet titled — Imandaar Prayaas Ka, Ek Saal Vikas Ka — highlighting the BJP government’s achievements in the last one year of coming to power in the state. “Government of India is focusing on next-generation infrastructure. Be it highways, railways, electricity, solar systems, petroleum, approximately Rs 26,000 crore worth Government of India projects are underway in Himachal Pradesh. When these projects attain completion, they will take Himachal to new heights,” the PM said.
Modi also congratulated the Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his team and appreciated initiatives taken by the state government.
There was an old saying – Pahaar ka paani, aur pahaar ki jawaani, kabhi pahaar ke kaam nahi aati. Hill waters flow down and the youth also migrate to other areas in search of livelihood, but today Himachal government has proved this wrong. Himachal government has ensured that hill water is used in the hilly areas and the youth also contribute towards Himachal’s bright future,” he said Modi, while pointing out vocational and skill training development schemes undertaken by the state government.
He added: “When somebody does a good job, we also feel we should do something for them. During previous government, Himachal used to get Rs 21,000 crore. But, when BJP government was formed, you gave me a chance to serve, today Himachal is getting Rs 72,000 crore.”
“Coca-Cola, Pepsi etc. — all these companies that sell aerated drinks, we called them. We asked them to include five per cent natural fruit juice in their drinks so that my farmers get a good market for their crop and those who consume these drinks also get some nutrition. I am happy that slowly, such companies are coming forward and have started including natural fruit juice in their drinks. I am sure that in the coming months, farmers who grow fruits will get a big market.”
About providing better connectivity to Himachal, the Prime Minister spoke about new railway routes worth Rs 15,000 crores being undertaken in Himachal Pradesh, and highlighted National Highway projects worth Rs 9,000 crore that are also underway in the hill state. He also referred to new glass-enclosed vistadome coaches recently introduced on Kalka-Shimla heritage rail track.
Modi attacked the opposition alleging that previous government had fooled the soldiers as well as the farmers of the country.
He said that the previous government had kept only Rs 500 crore for OROP, but his government realized that Rs 12,000 crore was the required amount. “I called soldiers and told them that I will release the amount in installments. I am happy to announce that, we disbursed the amount in four instalments and soldiers have got the money”, Modi said.
About farm loan waiver, he said: “Before 2008, they lied to the farmers. Farmers’ loans were Rs 6 lakh crore and Rs 60,000 crore was announced as a waiver. Instead, Rs 52,000 crore was waived off. In this too, 35 lakh people who got the benefit were such who had no fields, and had not grown any crop ever. But, those days scams worth billions were taking place, thus loot with the farmers never got published in the newspapers. CAG also pointed it out.”
“We never said everybody will get rooftops made of gold, or everybody will have a car parked outside their house We have never said anything like that, nor have we shown any false dreams. We make an honest attempt,” he added.
Modi also appreciated Himachal government’s home-stay initiative. Currently, there are around 80,000 registered home-stays across Himachal. Emphasising on organic farming, Modi said that Himachal had a lot of potential to become an organic farming state.
Earlier, welcoming Modi and other dignitaries including Union Health Minister J P Nadda and incumbent and former ministers and MLAs of Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur appreciated Himachal’s contribution to armed forces.
He elaborated on his government’s achievements including Rs 1300 old age pension, improving road, rail and air connectivity infrastructure, youth vocational training and skill development schemes, tourism and strengthening grievance-redressal mechanism in the state.