'Cong delayed projects, forced migrations from U'khand'

Congress govts delayed projects, forced people to migrate from U'khand villages, says PM Modi

Addressing a rally in Haldwani, Modi accused the previous Uttarakhand governments of "looting" the state and doing nothing for its development

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI File Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday accused successive Congress governments at the Centre and in Uttarakhand of dragging their feet for decades over development projects, forcing people to migrate from their villages in the state.

Addressing a rally in Haldwani, Modi accused the previous Uttarakhand governments of "looting" the state and doing nothing for its development.

He said this inaugurating and laying foundation stones of projects worth over Rs 17,500 crore, including the Rs 5,747 crore Lakhwar hydropower project.

Modi said the Lakhwar project was thought of in 1974 and took nearly 46 years to see the light of day.

"Wasn't it sinful on part of those who were in power before us to delay a project like Lakhwar meant to give you electricity, drinking water and irrigate your lands. Would you forget their sin? Will you get carried away by their tall promises," he asked a cheering crowd at the MB Inter College ground in Haldwani.

"Generations of people in Uttarakhand villages were forced to leave their homes in the absence of roads and other facilities and migrate somewhere else," he said.

"While I correct their mistakes, you teach them a lesson," the prime minister said.

He said there are two approaches--one to keep the hills deprived of development and the other to work day and night for their development.

"They have only looted Uttarakhand with both hands," Modi said without naming anyone.

He accused the previous regime in Uttarakhand of being interested only in "looting" the state and said it did nothing for its development.

In a veiled attack on Congress leader Harish Rawat, Modi said one of those in power earlier said, "You may even loot the state but save my government. Those who love Uttarakhand cannot even think of something like that."

His reference was to a purported video in which Harish Rawat was allegedly heard negotiating a money deal to buy back the support of rebel MLAs in the state in 2016.

Modi said the implementation of the projects whose foundation stone was laid today are his commitments.

"I am working with my heart and soul for the development of Uttarakhand," he said.

"I have faith in the strength of the people of Uttarakhand and I am confident that their strength will make this decade that of the hill state. I am putting emphasis on development projects like these with that objective in mind," Modi said

"These foundations are not just stones, they are our commitment, which the double engine government will fulfil," he said.

Modi, who inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of projects worth over Rs 17,500 crore before addressing the Vijay Sankalp rally in Haldwani, also announced that he is bringing infrastructure projects worth Rs 2,000 crore to Haldwani as a New Year gift.

These projects are related to construction of roads, installation of water and streetlights, Modi said.

He also charged the opposition with manufacturing rumours, spreading them and then shouting over them treating them as facts.

"I have been told that people are being misled about the Tanakpur-Bageshwar rail line project. I want to tell you that the work on final location survey of the project has begun. Takanpur-Bageshwar rail line will be built the way Rishikesh-Karnaprayag rail line is being built," he said.

Attacking previous governments, he said women are the worst victims of the politics of denial.

He said schemes like Shauchalaya Yojana, Ujjawala, Jal Jivan Mission or Har Ghar Jal or Har Ghar Nal se Jal were launched by his government over the last seven years as an honest attempt to address problems faced by women in the country for decades.

Modi inaugurated six projects worth Rs 3,420 crore and laid the foundation stones of 17 others worth Rs 14,127 crore.

The inaugurated projects include three different stretches of the Char Dham all-weather road, which have been widened, Nagina-Kashipur National Highway, Suring Gad hydel project and sewage works under the Namami Gange programme at Nainital.

An AIIMS satellite centre for Kumaon worth Rs 500 crore, Moradabad-Kashipur four-lane road, improved road connectivity with Nepal and an Aroma Park in Kashipur are among the key projects whose foundation was laid by the prime minister.

The Lakhwar multi-purpose project will produce 300 MW of electricity.

The 330 million cubic metres water in its reservoir will supply irrigation and drinking water to six states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

This is Modi's second visit to the state this month.

On his last visit to Uttarakhand on December 4, Modi had unveiled projects worth over Rs 18,000 crore in Dehradun. 

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