Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday handed over to the Army, the home-made Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1A) and launched various projects and laid the foundation for several others in different sectors, including Railways, in Tamil Nadu, describing them as symbols of innovation and indigenous development.
The Rs 3,770 crore Chennai Metro Rail Phase-I extension was among the completed projects launched by Modi, who also said the decade was going to belong to India, adding the entire world was looking at it with positivity.
This year’s central budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, “once again showcased the reforms commitment of the government,” Modi said in his address on the occasion.
On the health front, he said that “inspired by a human centric approach, India is making the world’s fight against COVID-19 stronger,” in an apparent reference to the country providing vaccines to many nations in their battle against the pandemic.
“We have to keep doing whatever we can to develop our nation and make the world a better place. This is what the makers of our Constitution wanted us to do,” he said.
At a grand event at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here, the Prime Minister handed over to the Army the Arjun Main Battle Tank and also accepted a salute.
The state-of-the-art Arjun tank has been indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) at Avadi here along with 15 academic institutions, eight labs and several MSMEs.
Modi flagged off the 9.01 km service from Washermanpet to Wimco Nagar in North Chennai.
The project was completed on schedule despite the ‘global pandemic,’ with the civil construction being taken up by Indian engineers and the rolling stock procured locally, he said, adding, it thus strengthened the “Atma-nirbhar bharat” concept.
With this extension, the Phase I covers a total length of 54.05 km and people can travel from the north Chennai locality to the airport in the south using the Metro rail.
Modi dedicated to the nation the Chennai Beach-Attipattu fourth line and the Railway electrification of Villupuram Cuddalore-Mayiladuturai Thanjavur-Mayiladuturai-Tiruvarur Single Line Sections.
He also laid the foundation stone for the Discovery Campus of IIT Madras, which will be built at nearby Thaiyur at an estimated cost of Rs 1,000 crore in the first phase over an area of 2 lakh sqm and the extension, renovation and modernisation of the Grand Anicut Canal System.
In his speech, the Prime Minister said the infrastructure projects inaugurated in the state were symbols of innovation and indigenous development.
Asserting that this year’s union budget showed his government’s commitment to reforms, Modi said: “The world is looking at India with great enthusiasm and positivity. This decade is going to be India’s because of the hard work of 130 crore Indians.”
The country was scaling up its physical and social infrastructure at a “rapid pace,” and had one of the “largest” infrastructure today, he said.
Modi also highlighted the importance of conservation of water, saying it was not a national issue along but a global one. “Per drop more crop,” he added.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam and other cabinet members, senior leaders of ruling AIADMK M Thambidurai, K P Munusamy and leaders from alliance parties participated in the event.
The venue, the sprawling Nehru Stadium premises, and the entire Periamet neighbourhood in the heart of the city came under a three-layered security blanket.
Traffic diversions and heavy deployment of police personnel were made as part of security measures for the Prime Minister’s brief visit.
Several youngsters at the venue sported T-shirts hailing the chief minister and many from the audience raised slogans praising Modi and Palaniswami.
Earlier, the Prime Minister arrived at the airport here, and then flew in a chopper to INS Adyar from where he drove to the function venue.
All along the way, a good number of supporters and the public turned up to greet the Prime Minister as artistes played traditional musical instruments to welcome him.
Modi waved at the people who waited on the kerb to have a glimpse of the leader.
At the event, Modi, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam paid floral tributes to the portraits of late chief ministers M G Ramachandran (AIADMK founder) and J Jayalalithaa.