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PM says Centre's projects changing Delhi's face, rues politics against them

'It is our country's misfortune that many good things brought with good intentions get trapped in political colours. Media also gets dragged into it due to its TRP compulsions'

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Narendra Modi | infrastructure projects | central government

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspects the newly inaugurated Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor, in New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspects the newly inaugurated Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor, in New Delhi

It is the country's "misfortune" that many good things brought with good intentions get trapped in politics, Prime Minister said on Sunday, as he cited development work undertaken by his government to assert that it is changing the face of Delhi.

Speaking after inaugurating the main tunnel and five underpasses of the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor here, Modi cited a number of initiatives, including Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways, more than doubling of metro tracks in Delhi-NCR and the Delhi-Meerut highway among other projects, as steps taken by his government to solve the region's problems.

"It is our country's misfortune that many good things brought with good intentions get trapped in political colours. Media also gets dragged into it due to its TRP compulsions," Modi said, adding that the construction of the Central Vista project and the new Parliament building is going on at a fast pace now.

"India's capital will be talked about in the coming days and every Indian will be proud," he said.

The prime minister was referring to last year's inauguration of the defence complex, which he noted earlier operated out of dilapidated hutments spread across a vast stretch of land near Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The central vista project, a massive revamp exercise in the heart of India's seat of power, had drawn protests from a section of activists and opposition parties that went to court. The Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor had also faced some protests.

Modi's comments about "good things brought with good intentions" getting trapped in politics also come at a time when his government's Agnipath scheme, a radical overhaul of the process of soldiers' recruitment in the armed forces, has triggered protests in different parts of the country.

Opposition parties are demanding that it be withdrawn, while the ruling BJP has been strongly defending it.

The prime minister, however, made no direct reference to the scheme in his speech which was largely focused on the infrastructure and development work his government has been doing for the Delhi-NCR region.

Delhi has received a beautiful infrastructure gift from the central government, Modi said after inaugurating the project.

While moving through the tunnel to look at it, Modi was also seen picking up some litter, highlighting his commitment to 'Swachh Bharat'.

He noted that the project will help save 55 lakh litres of fuel and cut down pollution, adding that his government looks at increasing urbanisation as an opportunity and has been working to boost ease of living for the people.

The inauguration of the 1.6-km-long tunnel, which will be Delhi's first, will allow commuters travelling to India Gate and other central Delhi areas from east Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad to ditch traffic snarls at ITO, Mathura Road and Bhairon Marg, and thereby save time, fuel and money.

"Time is money," Modi said, adding that it makes headlines if the government announces Rs 100 for people but if Rs 200 is saved, it is not talked about much.

Modi also lauded the artwork adorning the tunnel and underpasses, and suggested that they should be closed for traffic for a few hours on Sundays to allow schoolchildren and other people to walk around and appreciate the art. He added that he will also ask MPs to do so.

He said this is perhaps among the world's longest art galleries.

The Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor project has been built at a cost of more than Rs 920 crore and is entirely funded by the .

It is aimed at providing hassle-free and smooth access to the new world-class exhibition and convention centre being developed at Pragati Maidan to facilitate easy participation of exhibitors and visitors in the programmes being held there.

Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Hardeep Singh Puri, Som Prakash, Anupriya Patel and Kaushal Kishore were among those present on the occasion.

Addressing the gathering, Modi recalled the enormity of the challenge to complete the project due to traffic congestion and the COVID-19 pandemic. He credited the new work culture of New India, workers and engineers for the feat.

This tunnel is part of the campaign to transform Pragati Maidan according to the needs of the 21st century, he said.

Despite India's changing capability, the venue, a massive centre for exhibitions and conventions, was left behind due to politics and the lack of initiatives, Modi said.

"Unfortunately, there was not much 'pragati' (progress) of Pragati Maidan," he said, adding that his government is working continuously to ensure state-of-the-art facilities and exhibition halls for world-class events in the national capital.

He also referred to the International Convention and Expo Centre in Dwarka in this context.

"Modern infrastructure developed by the is changing the picture of Delhi and making it modern. This change in the picture is a medium of changing the city's destiny as well," Modi said.

This focus on infrastructure modernisation while giving priority to the environment as well is driven by increasing ease of living for the common people, he said. He reiterated the need for environment-sensitive and climate-conscious infrastructure development.

The decongestion of traffic due to the tunnel will lead to environmental dividends equivalent to planting five lakh trees, he noted.

Modi pointed out that Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, Delhi-Dehradun Expressway, Delhi-Amritsar Expressway, Delhi-Chandigarh Expressway and Delhi-Jaipur Expressway are making Delhi one of the best-connected capital cities of the world.

He also cited the Delhi-Meerut rapid rail system, which uses indigenous technology, as part of measures that are cementing Delhi's identity as the capital of India and will benefit people.

He said that the country is also creating multimodal connectivity through the vision of 'PM GatiShakti National Master Plan'.

It is necessary to expand the scope of metro cities of the country and work with better planning in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, he added.

For India's rapid development in the coming 25 years, its cities need to be made green, clean and friendly, Modi said.

For the first time, a government is giving so much emphasis on urban planning with work being done to provide better facilities to everyone from the urban poor to the urban middle class, he said.

In the last eight years, the prime minister said, pucca houses have been ensured for more than 1.70 cr urban poor.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sun, June 19 2022. 16:48 IST
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