PM Modi inaugurates development projects in Odisha, targets Patnaik in rally



New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases a commemorative coin in the honour of Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in New Delhi, Monday, Dec 24, 2018. BJP President Amit Shah is also seen. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases a commemorative coin in the honour of Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in New Delhi, Monday, Dec 24, 2018. BJP President Amit Shah is also seen. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the new campus of IIT-Bhubaneswar and launched a slew of projects in the state worth Rs 14,523 crore during his day-long visit to Odisha. He also released a stamp and a coin to commemorate the Paika rebellion of 1817. The Prime Minister also addressed a BJP rally in Khurda where he hit out at Naveen Patnaik’s BJD government.

“Demon of corruption in the form of chit fund scams and PC (percentage commission) culture has grown strong in Odisha,” he said. He also questioned, “who is feeding corruption?”

Earlier in the day, while inaugurating the projects via video conferencing from the state capital, the prime minister said these would accelerate the state’s development and help it become “an engine for transformation of the country into a new India”.

“Our focus is on progress of east India in general and Odisha in particular,” Modi said during a day-long visit to Odisha, which is his second in three months.

He dedicated to the country the new campus of IIT Bhubaneswar built at a cost of Rs 1,660 crore and also laid foundation stone of the campus of Indian Institute of Science and Education Research (IISER) at Berhampur, which will cost around Rs 1,600 crore.

He also unveiled and laid foundation stone for a host of projects related to higher education, health, road and highways and culture.

Stating that the Centre has launched a large number of infrastructure projects in the eastern region and in this state, Modi said these initiatives will act as a catalyst to make the region a gateway for south Asia.

Asserting that the Centre’s resolve was to ensure rapid development of eastern India including Odisha, the prime minister said “Our motto is ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ to ensure balanced development of all regions and prosperity of all sections of the society.”

Modi said the new IIT and IISER campuses would facilitate higher studies and research in science and technology and Odisha’s identity as a centre of knowledge and innovation will also be revived with the establishment of these institutes.

At the same time, they would play a major role in accelerating industrial development in the state and generating employment for the youths.

“The youths will not only be able to translate their dreams into reality but also help in fulfilling the nation’s dreams,” he said.

The prime minister also laid foundation stone of Indian Oil’s pipeline from Paradip to Hyderabad at a projected cost of Rs 3,800 crore and GAIL’s gas pipeline from Angul to Bokaro in Jharkhand at a projected cost of Rs 3,437 crore under the Urja Ganga Yojana.

Modi said these projects will go a long way in strengthening the Centre’s endeavour at providing the people with clean and green energy.

While facilitating supply of petro products from Paradip refinery, the pipelines would transform Odisha into the petro hub of east India, he said.

He also laid foundation stones for four national highway projects of 263 km to streamline traffic and check mishaps in the state at a total cost of Rs 4,361 crore.

The projects include six-laning of Chandikhole-Bhadrak section of NH-16, flyover on NH-16 at Khandagiri in Bhubaneswar, four-laning of Cuttack-Angul section of NH-42 and further widening of the Tangi-Puintola section of NH-16.

Asserting that the Centre is committed to provide improved healthcare facilities to people, Modi dedicated a 100-bed revamped upgraded ESI Hospital here to the nation. An amount of Rs 73.51 crore has been spent for the project.

He also inaugurated the Baxi Jagabandhu research laboratory in Utkal university.

At the programme where the coin and the stamp commemorating the Paika rebellion were released, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the Paika rebellion of 1817 should be recognised as the first struggle of independence.

Paikas were traditional landed militia under the state’s Gajapati rulers at that time. Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar, the military chief of the King of Khurda, had led his army of Paikas in 1817 against the British East India Company for tinkering with the revenue system and forced its forces to retreat.

The rebellion came to be known as ‘Paika Bidroh’ or Paika rebellion.

Patnaik said the state government would provide land free of cost for a memorial proposed to be set up by the Centre near Barueni in Khurda district in memory of Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadha.

Modi also inaugurated an archaeological museum at Lalitgiri, one of the earliest Buddhist settlements in Odisha situated 120 km north of Bhubaneshwar.

Governor Ganeshi Lal, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram were among those who attended the function.