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'Centre will work to make Kannur airport a reality'

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SEEKING VOTE FOR DEVELOPMENT: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greets the people at a UDF election meeting in Payyoli, near Kozhikode, on Thursday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is also seen. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup
SEEKING VOTE FOR DEVELOPMENT: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greets the people at a UDF election meeting in Payyoli, near Kozhikode, on Thursday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is also seen. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

Staff Reporter

Committed to welfare of people in Gulf countries: Prime Minister

IRITTY (KANNUR): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government will work for making the proposed Kannur airport a reality as it is committed to developing and modernising transport infrastructure in the country.

Addressing a huge election rally here on Thursday evening, Dr. Singh said that the UPA Government would work with the United Democratic Front (UDF) Government to modernise the infrastructure, including rural infrastructure, in the State.

Stating that the UDF Government had put the State on the path of rapid social and economic development over the last five years, the Prime Minister said that Kerala had to now become a very advanced industrialised State.

"Kerala has missed the bus for industrialisation. With the excellent human resources available in the State, it can become a hub of industrial and commercial activity," Dr. Singh said adding that the UDF Government had already taken right steps in this direction.

Applauding the UDF Government for starting scores of engineering colleges and many medical colleges in the State, he said that crores of rupees spent by parents of students in the State were now being spent in the State itself. The UDF Government's efforts in the education sector would make Kerala a knowledge hub, Dr. Singh added.

"I am confident that the UDF is best placed to secure the future of the State," the Prime Minister said seeking support of the voters to bring the UDF back to power.

In the last five years, the UDF had provided a stable, sound and purposeful Government, he said. "It is essential that the focus of any Government has to be equitable development," he said adding that the UDF Government had good track record in this area.

Large number of people turned out to attend the election rally here. UDF supporters thronged the Valliyad ground here since 2 p.m. and braved summer showers accompanied by thunder and lightning before the helicopter carrying him landed at 5.05 p.m.

He told the rally that the State needed to do more so that the high literacy here could be translated into a driving force for the rapid development of the State.

Stating that the UDF Government had worked and would continue to work to build a dynamic economy in the State, Dr. Singh said that it had also addressed the concerns of weaker sections. Ashraya and Kudumbasree projects exemplified this commitment, he said.

"The hard work put in by the UDF Government has started yielding results and the nine per cent growth achieved by the State last year is a proof that the efforts have borne fruit," the Prime Minister said.

He also said that the UPA Government was also working for the welfare and well-being of all sections of society. "We recognise that some sections do require special attention to ensure that they can get better facilities," he said adding that the Department of Minority Affairs started by the UPA Government exemplified this.

He also said that the UPA Government was committed to the welfare of 40 lakh people working in the Gulf countries and added that the starting of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs displayed this commitment.

Stating that the Central Government was trying to further improve relations with the Gulf countries, Dr. Singh said that investments coming from these countries would benefit the State.

He also said that the Central Government was now restructuring loans wherever necessary to help farmers. He also assured that the Government would continue to support the welfare of fishermen.

Stating that the Central Government had sanctioned many landmark development projects, he said that the Vallarpadam container terminal would change the face of the State.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed presided over the function.

UDF candidates in the district K. Sudhakaran (Kannur), K.C. Joseph (Irikkur), A.D. Musthafa (Peravur), Rajmohan Unnithan (Thalassery), K. Surendran (Payyannur), Chandran Thillankery (Taliparamba), K.K. Nanur (Azhikode), V.K. Abdul Kader Moulavi (Peringalam), Sajiv Joseph (Koothuparamba) and K.C. Kadambooran (Edakkad) were present at the rally.

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