Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched projects worth Rs 11,581 crore and attended a ceremony to launch new investments worth Rs 28,192 crore in Himachal Pradesh ahead of its election year, also bating strongly for the leadership of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
Modi, who arrived at Mandi this morning on a day coinciding with four years of the BJP government, described Thakur as an ‘energetic and popular’ leader, thus sending a clear political message about the next elections to be fought in Himachal Pradesh under Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
At a rally he addressed at the historic Paddal ground of Mandi , Modi said Thakur and his team had worked hard and did not allow the pace of development to be stopped despite the pandemic.
"Several developmental projects have come up in the state, and infrastructure has improved drastically under the Jai Ram Thakur," Modi declared, setting to rest all speculations about possible leadership change in the wake of recent bypoll results, which went against the BJP.
Modi said the BJP had always worked for "Sabka Vikas" while others have only worked for "Pariwar ka Swasth, Pariwar ka Vikas". He also targeted the non-BJP government for their dismal record in the vaccination drive for which Himachal Pradesh attained number one rank in the country.
"There are two ideologies working in the country - one ideology of "Vilamb" (delay) and other ideology of "Vikas" (development)". Earlier, PM laid the foundation stone of the multi-purpose Renukaji Dam project, a Rs 7,000 crore project of its kind aimed to supply surplus drinking water to Delhi from a distance of 250 km.
The project had remained caught in delays and legal tangles for three decades and it was only two weeks ago that the Union Cabinet approved it. Six states viz Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Delhi will be benefited from the project on its completion, six years later.
Himachal Pradesh will get 40 MW of power from the project as a 148-meter rockfill dam will provide water storage at the Giri River, a tributary of the Yamuna in the Sirmaur district.
Modi laid the foundation stone of the 210 MW Luhri –I project. It will be built at a cost of over Rs 1,800 crore. The foundation stone of the Dhaulasidh Hydel project was also laid by Modi on Monday. The 66 MW project will be built at a cost of over Rs 680 crore.
The PM dedicated the 111 MW Sawra-Kuddu Power Prroject commissioned at a cost of around Rs 2080 crore in the Shimla district. Himachal will get a revenue worth over Rs 120 crore annually from the project upon its completion.
At the inauguration ceremony, Modi interacted with investors including Sachit Jain , whose company has already an investment of Rs 2,600 crore in the state with another proposed Rs 600 crore investment pending.
In 2019, the state had mobilized an investment of Rs 92,000 crore. Projects worth Rs 13,100 crore out of this had already been inaugurated before the Covid-19 outbreak.
In Himachal, Modi also spoke about the need for preserving the environment and claimed that the world over, India is known to have made efforts towards conserving the environment, along with building developmental infrastructure.
The Center is working towards tackling the problem of single-use plastic in Himachal Pradesh along with the nationwide campaign against single-use plastic. "Our government is also working on plastic waste management," he said.
He said the tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh also have a responsibility to keep the mountains clean and free from the plastic.