PM Modi rolls out new projects, hails TN for its cultural leadership; bets on nationalism

Tiruchirappalli:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated a string of projects here and laid the foundation stone for new initiatives, in all worth Rs 20,140 crore.

The Prime Minister hailed Tamil Nadu for its cultural inspiration and praised DMDK’s late leader Vijayakanth rooted for nationalism while Chief Minister M K Stalin championed the social justice-led Dravidian model of governance which, among other goals, is also aimed at taking education to all.

Against the background of recent rains, floods, and consequent damage and loss of lives in Chennai and southern Tamil Nadu, while PM Modi said the Centre was providing all possible support, Stalin urged him to declare the heavy showers-deluge as ‘severe natural disasters’ and release appropriate funds to the state from National Disaster Relief Fund.

Modi laid the foundation stone, inaugurated and dedicated to the nation, 20 projects related to air and seaports, railway, highway, petroleum and natural gas, atomic energy and higher education in the state from this central Tamil Nadu district, located about 300 km from state capital Chennai. Earlier, he attended the 38th Convocation of Bharathidasan University here.

The projects, the Prime Minister said will strengthen Tamil Nadu’s progress and boost ease of travel and create thousands of employment opportunities.

Stalin said the state governments, being close to the people, have the duty of providing students access to education, health care amenities and all other necessary assistance to people.

Hence, reiterating a request for Central funding to tackle the aftermath of floods and rains and establishing state rights is only “the demand of the people and not a political rhetoric”, the CM asserted.

Inaugurating the new terminal building at Tiruchirappalli International Airport, the PM said, “our endeavour is to consistently expand the cultural inspiration derived from Tamil Nadu in the development of the country.”

The ‘revered Sengol’ has been installed in the new Parliament building in Delhi. It is an inspiration driven from the model of good governance given by Tamil culture to the whole country.

The ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal’ for the next 25 years will play a crucial role in India becoming a developed nation, which has both economic and cultural dimensions, the PM added.

India is proud of the vibrant culture and heritage of Tamil Nadu, he said.

While taking part in public events in the past, Modi, who had spoken in English on most occasions on Tuesday spoke in Hindi as well.

In his address, the Prime Minister referred to last month’s rains and floods in the state and the consequent losses and said he was deeply moved by the condition of affected families.

“The central government stands with people of Tamil Nadu in this time of crisis. We are providing every possible support to the state government.”

Modi praised Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) leader Vijayakanth who passed away days ago as a ‘captain’ in both cinema and politics.

As a leader, in politics, Vijayakanth always placed national interest above everything, the PM said.

“I pay my tributes to him, I also express my condolences to his family and admirers.”

He also remembered eminent farm scientist M S Swaminathan of Tamil Nadu, who passed away recently and said he ensured food security for the country.

Today, the PM said, the nation was making unprecedented investment in physical and social infrastructure and it is among the top 5 economies, emerging as a new hope.

TN is becoming a very significant brand ambassador for ‘Make In India,’ he added.

The Prime Minister reiterated the Central government’s approach where the development of the state reflects in the development of the nation.

He said more than 40 Union ministers toured Tamil Nadu more than 400 times in the past year. “India will progress with the progress of Tamil Nadu”, he said and underscored on connectivity, which is the route for development giving a boost to businesses and makes people’s lives easier.

The new terminal building here will increase capacity by three times and strengthen connectivity with East Asia, Middle East and create new opportunities for investments, businesses, education, health and tourism.

He expressed satisfaction that the airport with its strengthened infrastructure will introduce the world to Tamil culture and heritage.

In his Bharathidasan University convocation address, he said one of the factors behind the rise of India today, is the ‘rise of our universities.’

India is setting records in economic growth as the fastest growing major economy. At the same time, universities are also entering global rankings in record numbers.

Bharat and civilisation have always been centred around knowledge. Ancient universities such as Nalanda and Vikramashila are well known and there are references to Kanchipuram housing great varsities and Madurai serving as a centre of learning, he said.

The origin of modern day concept of convocation could be traced to the Sangam era wherein literary works were submitted for scrutiny for recognition.

On the new railway projects, PM Modi said they will promote industry and electricity generation. The new road projects will connect important centers of faith and tourism like Srirangam, Chidambaram, Rameshwaram and Vellore.

The projects inaugurated include electrification of Tiruchchirappali-Manamadurai-Virudunagar railway line.

The PM said that in the decade before 2014, states were given Rs 30 lakh crore; whereas in the last 10 years states were given Rs 120 lakh crore.

Tamil Nadu too got 2.5 times more in this period as compared to the 10 years preceding 2014.

For national highway construction, more than three times expenditure was done in the state and 2.5 times more money was spent in the railways sector in the state, he said.