Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched and laid the foundation stone for nearly Rs 5,000 crore worth new projects in Tamil Nadu in the transport sector, that included the flagging off of the Chennai-Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express and inauguration of a New Integrated Terminal Building (Phase-1) of the Chennai International Airport.
The PM underscored Centre's push for the state's growth, recalling in detail the various initiatives in this regard, even as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin pressed for allocation of more projects and funds to his state from the Union government.
In his address, Modi said India has been witnessing a revolution in terms of infrastructure development. It is driven by speed and scale and pointed to Union Budget's allocation of a record Rs 10 lakh crore investment in infrastructure. "This is five times more than that of 2014." Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said India as a nation will prosper only when funds flow from the Centre for the development of States. He requested the Prime Minister to increase the fund allocation for railway projects.
Major projects such as the Chennai - Maduravoyal expressway, Chennai Tambaram elevated corridor, four-laning of East Coast Road, widening of Chennai - Kanchipuram - Vellore highways and Chennai-Madurai national highway to six lanes should be expedited. "I take this opportunity to request our Prime Minister to direct the NHAI for speeding up of the ongoing road projects," Stalin urged.
Prosperous and strong States are the true indicators of co-operative federalism and vibrant India, he insisted and claimed that his Dravidian model of governance is striving on this principle to implement the structural programmes required for the development of the entire Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu's development is a great priority for the Centre, the PM said and added the State has been allocated an all time high budget of Rs 6,000 crore this year for rail infrastructure.
"The average amount allocated per year during 2009-2014 was less than Rs 900 crore. Between 2004 and 2014, the length of NH added in TN was about 800 km and between 2014 and 2023 nearly 2,000 km of NH were added." In 2014-15, the investment in the development and maintenance of highways in the state was arond Rs 1,200 crore and in 2022-23 it increased to over Rs 8,200 crore, the PM said.
The Prime Minister underlined the speed and scale of work now, be it the national highway development, rail line electrification, and increase in number of airports before 2014 and after the NDA regime assumed power. India has more rural internet users than urban users and the nation is the world's number one in digital transactions.
Tamil Nadu is home of history and heritage. It is land of language and literature and a centre of patriotism and national consciousness. Many of the nation's leading freedom fighters were from Tamil Nadu, he said.
"I know that I have come to you at a festive time. In just a few days the Tamil Nadu new year will be celebrated, this is a time for new energy, new hopes and new aspiration and new beginnings," Modi said.
At a function at the MGR Chennai Central Railway Station, the PM flagged off the inaugural special of the Vande Bharat express, loaded with modern features and passenger amenities. He also interacted with school students in the train. "It is the fastest train between the two cities with a travel time of 5 hours and 50 minutes, saving more than an hour of journey time," Southern Railway said. The New Integrated Terminal Building at the airport is uniquely designed to showcase the rich culture and heritage of the state. "The addition of this new integrated terminal building will increase the passenger serving capacity of the airport from 23 Million Passengers Per Annum (MPPA) to 30 MPPA. The new terminal is a striking reflection of the local Tamil culture, incorporating traditional features such as the Kolam, saree, temples, and other elements that highlight the natural surroundings," the government said.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said civil aviation is changing and our country had only six crore passengers in the year 2013-14. In nine years it has more than doubled to 14.5 crore passengers per year across India.
The sector has, after two and half years of COVID passed the pre COVID record of 4.20 lakh passengers a day to a new high of 4.55 lakh passengers in a day.
A country that had built only 74 airports in 65 years from independence had in a period of nine years under the leadership of Modi built additional 74 airports helipads waterdromes doubling the number to 148 and the PM is very clear in this direction.
In his address at celebrations commemorating the 125th Anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna Math here, Modi said people across the country always had a clear concept of the nation and as a country, for thousands of years, it reflected the spirit of "Ek Bharat Shrest Bharat," one India, great India.
Among others, the PM inaugurated a 7.3 km long elevated corridor in Madurai and various train services connecting different parts of the state. He laid the foundation stone for National Highway projects that will boost inter-state connectivity between TN and Kerala.
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