Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday there had been conspiracies to defame Gujarat and stop investments in his home State when he was the Chief Minister from 2001 to 2014.
However, Gujarat not only ignored the efforts to malign the State but continued to chart a new path of development and progress, which led to all round development across its regions, Mr. Modi said while addressing a public rally after inaugurating and laying the foundation stone of development works in Kutch district.
Gujarat Assembly elections are slated for December this year.
The Prime Minister also held a roadshow in Bhuj, and addressed a rally after inaugurating the Narmada canal that will bring water to parched Kutch from the Narmada Sarovar dam in south Gujarat. During his visit to Kutch, Mr. Modi also inaugurated a memorial in the memory of the thousands of victims of the 2001 earthquake that devastated Kutch.
“While Gujarat was dealing with the natural calamity, the period of conspiracies started. There were conspiracies to defame Gujarat in the country and the world. Repeated attempts were made to stop investment coming to the State, but the State chose a new path of progress,” he said in his address.
According to Mr. Modi, after the earthquake, the State government had focused on the Kutch district, which was then known as “very backward” but the government’s efforts led to massive industrial development across the district.
“Ignoring all the efforts for defaming Gujarat and defying the conspiracies, Gujarat charted a new industrial path. Kutch was one of the big beneficiaries of that process,” Mr. Modi added.
He also highlighted how, while tackling the worst natural calamity, Gujarat became the first State in the country to enact a Disaster Management Act, which became a model Act and was replicated nationally. “With the inspiration of this Act, a similar law was made for the whole country. This Act helped every government in the country during the pandemic,” he said.
“After the 2001 Kutch earthquake that brought in destruction and deaths, I had spoken about the redevelopment of Kutch and we worked hard for it, ignoring many voices who doubted whether Kutch would be able to recover from the destruction,” he said, crediting the people of the district for working hard to redevelop the region.
Talking about the large-scale industrial development in the district, the Prime Minister said Kutch had the largest cement plants in the world, and stood second in the world in welding pipe manufacturing. The world’s second largest textile plant is in Kutch, and it also houses Asia’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Mundra, he said.
Kandla and Mundra ports handle 30% of India’s cargo, and the district produces 30% of the country’s salt. Kutch produces 2,500 MW of power from solar and wind energy, and the largest solar hybrid park is coming up in Kutch, Mr. Modi said.
He added that the way Kutch had emerged as the most industrialised district in the State after the devastating quake, India would similarly become a developed nation by 2047, as resolved by the Government of India and the people of the country.
In recent years, Kutch has focused on agriculture and has emerged as the State’s largest region for horticulture, and with the Narmada’s water reaching in the district, farmers could benefit by growing fruits and vegetables, and expanding dairy farming, Mr. Modi said.
During his visit, PM also laid the foundation stone for a milk processing plant of the district’s Sarhad dairy. This is Mr. Modi’s first visit to the border district in more than two years, and the fourth roadshow in Gujarat in since March this year. The PM has been visiting his home State twice a month to spearhead the campaign for the Assembly polls to be held in December.