In a major push to infrastructure development in his constituency Varanasi ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday inaugurated a slew of next generation transport projects, saying the whole country is "witness to fulfilment of a dream".
While launching a series of projects including highways and a multi-modal terminal on the river Ganga in Varanasi besides receiving a container vessel in a first for the country's inland water transport post-Independence, Modi said the terminal project will "reconnect us to our glorious past".
He said that Varanasi and the whole country are witness to the fulfilment of a dream on Monday.
Expressing happiness at the way next generation transport infrastructure has grown in the last four years, the prime minister said airports in remote areas, train network expanding to the north eastern parts of the country and a grand network of roads even in rural areas are now the identity of his government, the road, transport ministry said in a statement here.
Modi was speaking in Varanasi at two events to launch a series of national highways, inland waterways and sewerage infrastructure projects in the city today.
Dedicating the inland waterways multi-modal terminal on the river Ganga to the nation, he said the "project will reconnect us to our glorious past" and link eastern Uttar Pradesh to the north-eastern parts of the country.
He also said that the modern road between Babatpur airport and Varanasi will attract tourists from all parts of the country. The ring road built at a cost of Rs 760 crore will ease the traffic in the city.
He said connectivity not only improves opportunities, it also strengthens the belief and confidence of the people.
As per the statement, speaking on the occasion, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that work is on for ensuring enough draught in the river Ganga from its origin in Gangotri to its last point in Gangasagar in West Bengal.
Gadkari said during the forthcoming Kumbh, ferries will run between Varanasi and Prayagraj.
The water resources minister said as many as 268 water cleaning projects worth Rs 1,000 crore are being undertaken in the country. In a recent examination of water quality at 80 places on Ganga, water was found pure at 55 sites.
He expressed hope that these efforts will bear fruit and by coming March, 70 to 80 per cent of Ganga will become pure.
"The prime minister dedicated to the nation, two important national highways in Varanasi, having a total length of 34 kilometres and constructed at a cost of Rs 1,571.95 crore. The 16.55 km Varanasi Ring Road Phase-I has been completed at a cost of Rs 759.36 crore, while the work of four-laning and construction of 17.25 km Babatput-Varanasi road on NH-56 has cost Rs 812.59 crore," the statement said.
It added that the Babatpur Airport highway links Varanasi to the airport and goes on to Jaunpur, Sultanpur and Lucknow. With a flyover at Harhua and an ROB at Tarna, the road will reduce the travel time from Varanasi to the airport.
The Ring Road, with two ROBs and a flyover, will provide a way for traffic on NH 56 (Lucknow-Varanasi), NH 233 (Azamgarh-Varanasi), NH 29 (Gorakhpur-Varanasi ) and Ayodhya - Varanasi highways to bypass Varanasi city, thereby reducing traffic congestion in the city, the statement said.
This will reduce travel time, fuel usage and pollution in the area. The Ring Road will provide easier and more convenient access to Sarnath, an important site for Buddhist pilgrimage.
Inland Waterways Terminal at Varanasi is the first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on NW-I (Ganga) as part of the World Bank aided Jal Marg Vikas project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.
The other three terminals are under construction at Sahibganj, Haldia and Gazipur.
The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1,500-2,000 DWT on the river Ganga.
"PM also received the country's first container consignment to be sent on an inland waterways vessel. This consignment containing cargo of the food and beverage company Pepsico set sail from Kolkata in the last week of October," the statement said.
Modi also dedicated to the nation three sewage infrastructure projects costing Rs 425.41 crore for the city of Varanasi and laid the foundation stone for another project. The first is a 140 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Dinapur built at a cost of Rs 235.53 crore. The project includes 10 years' Operation and Maintenance agreement.
The second project includes three sewage pumping stations at Chaukaghat (140 MLD), Phulwaria (7.6 MLD) and Saraiya (3.7 MLD).
The total cost for the three pumping stations was Rs 34.01. The third project is the construction of 28 km long relieving trunk sewer, rising mains and interceptor sewers along Varuna & Assi at a cost of Rs 155.87 Crore.
Modi also laid the foundation stone for Sewerage Management Scheme for Ramnagar. This will include a 10 MLD STP and intercepting and diverting 4 drains. The sewerage projects will result in increasing the sewage treatment capacity in the city from 102 MLD to 242 MLD.
The long term O&M provision will ensure that the STP is not only created but is being operated and maintained properly. These projects will result in reducing the pollution of the river Ganga.
These project along with 2 other ongoing projects of 120 MLD at Goitha and 50 MLD STP at Ramana will take the sewage treatment capacity in the city to 412 MLD, which will be adequate for the sewage treatment requirements till year 2035, the statement said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)