Sonia Lays Foundation Stone of AIIMS in Rae Bareli

Muhammad Mazhar Saleem/ Rae Bareli
Sonia Lays Foundation Stone of AIIMS in Rae Bareli

With Lok Sabha polls not too far away, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today signalled that the ambitious Food Security and Land Acquisition Acts brought in by the Centre would give a new deal to the people, especially the farmers and the poor.

"For the benefit of farmers, the historic Land Acquisition Act was passed by the Centre. Now, nobody can forcibly grab land from poor farmers. Further, it is now mandatory that land can only be acquired with the consent of farmers and after paying the adequate prices," Sonia said during a day-long visit to her parliamentary constituency of Rae Bareli.

She was speaking at the foundation stone-laying function for a rail wheel plant in her constituency's Lalganj.

Turning to the Food Security Bill, the Congress President said that "despite all the obstacles, troubles and hindrances, we could get the bill passed in Parliament".

The Act will benefit 75 per cent of the rural and 50 per cent of the urban population of Uttar Pradesh, she said.

"At present, Centre gives about 66 lakh tonnes of foodgrain to Uttar Pradesh; after implementation of the Act, the state's share will increase to 96 lakh tonnes. Thus, 80 per cent of the rural and 60 per cent of the urban population in UP will be able to get foodgrain at subsidised rates," she said.

But there were still many issues left to be solved, she added. "I want to tell you that we are doing whatever possible for the people here with honesty and sincerity," she said.

Railways and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd have entered into an agreement for setting up a forged wheel plant at Lalganj at an investment of Rs 1,100 crore in the first phase.

The project promises about 600 jobs while 2,000 others would benefit indirectly. The railways will lease 40 acres to the RINL for 30 years to set up the factory. The factory will produce one lakh forged wheels annually to cater to the demand from LHB coaches and high-speed locos.

Earlier in the day Sonia, who was visiting Rae Bareli after six months, laid the foundation stone of UP's first All India Institute of Medical Sciences complex.

Sonia, who was accompanied by daughter Priyanka, performed "bhoomi pujan" near the old sugar mill at Munshiganj for the project.

The Congress President also visited the District Agriculture Science Centre and launched a Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) training programme there.

She also laid the foundation stone for the city resource centre of the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry and attended a meeting of the district vigilance and monitoring committee.

Sonia also went to Gora Bazar where she met the 17-year- old Renu at her residence and enquired about her health. The daughter of a rickshaw puller, Renu has a cleft lip. She was given free treatment under Smile Train campaign.

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