The “successful experimentation with Vibrant Gujarat Summit” has helped Gujarat overcome the loss of image that it suffered after the 2001 Kutch earthquake and the 2002 post-Godhra riots, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on the concluding day of the ninth edition of the investment summit here on Sunday.
Crediting the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a textile conclave where Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani was present, the Chief Minister said, “The successful experimentation with Vibrant (Gujarat) Summit is at the very roots of Gujarat becoming the growth engine of the nation. Remember those days in 2001 when earthquake struck, and 2002 when Godhra riots happened. An entire group of people had tried to defame Gujarat. But due to Vibrant Summit, Gujarat managed to stand (back on its feet).”
The CM was referring to the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Bhuj in Kutch on January 26, 2001 and left nearly 20,000 people dead; and the 2002 riots that broke out in the state following the Godhra train burning incident in which over 50 passengers, mostly kar sevaks, were killed. The communal riots that followed Godhra incident continued for nearly a week and left over 1,000 people dead and over 2,500 others injured.
“In those days (after the 2001 earthquake), people used to think that Kutch will not get back. People used to think that no foreigner will come to invest due to the (loss of) image of Gujarat across the world after the Godhra (incident). But today, we are seeing that the number of foreign delegates is increasing with each Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The entire world is leaving this summit after thanking Gujarat. They can only invest if they have trust, belief and sustainability. The investments that are coming prove that Gujarat has maintained its dignity,” he added.
Apart from the rising number of foreign delegates attending the summit, the number of nations agreeing to become “partner countries” has risen to 15 this year. The Indian Express had earlier reported the number of Muslim-majority nations among Summit partners has risen from one (UAE) in 2017 to three — UAE, Uzbekistan and Morocco — in the latest edition of the summit.
According to the government, the previous eight editions of the biennial summit — held since 2003 — have helped attract investments worth Rs 13,45,873 crore and created 23,67,000 job opportunities in Gujarat.
“Fifteen years ago, there was nothing in Sanand. Dahej was empty, and so was Becharaji and Vitthalapur. In Kutch, the stretch between Gandhidham and Mundra was deserted. Today, due to the good efforts of (PM) Narendrabhai (Modi) and his vision, all these regions have started thriving,” the CM said, adding that Dholera Special Investment Region is the latest showcase of the government’s endeavour “where a smart city bigger than Singapore is being built”.
At the conclusion of the summit, Rupani said that the ninth edition of the summit this year proved that it is a world-class event. Recalling the 2003 summit, when the then chief minister and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the summit, Rupani said that people not many had faith in the idea. “But the summit that began with 1,000 people has now crossed lakhs… and this is an indication of development,” he added.