‘There were conspiracies to defame Gujarat’: PM Narendra Modi in Bhuj rally

Bhuj: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said there have been conspiracies to defame Gujarat and stop investments in his home state, but Gujarat ignored them and charted a new path of progress. He was addressing a rally after inaugurating and laying the foundation stone of development works in Bhuj district ahead of Gujarat elections slated later this year.

Modi said he can clearly visualise that in spite of many deficiencies now, India will be a developed nation by 2047. The PM inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of projects worth about Rs 4,400 crore in Bhuj, including the Kutch branch canal of the Sardar Sarovar project, the new automatic milk processing and packing plant of Sarhad Dairy, Regional Science Centre at Bhuj, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Convention Centre at Gandhidham, Veer Bal Smarak at Anjar and Bhuj 2 substation at Nakhatrana.

“While Gujarat was dealing with natural calamities one after the other, there were conspiracies hatched to defame Gujarat in the country and the world. Repeated attempts were made to stop investment coming to Gujarat,” Modi said.

He said Gujarat ignored all efforts to defame it, defied the conspiracies and the state charted a new industrial new path of progress. “After the 2001 Kutch earthquake, in the midst of the destruction, I had spoken about the redevelopment of Kutch and we worked hard for it. In that hour of challenge, we had proclaimed that we will turn disaster into an opportunity and we achieved it. Today, you are witnessing the results,” he said.

There were many who said Kutch won’t be able to recover from the earthquake, but people there have changed the scenario, he said. “When I say from the ramparts of the Red Fort that India will be a developed country by 2047, though you may see many deficiencies now, I can clearly visualise it. What we resolve today, we will surely realise in 2047,” Modi said.

He said Gujarat became the first state in the country to enact the Disaster Management Act. “After drawing inspiration from this Act, a similar law was made for the whole country. This Act helped every government in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said.

Highlighting the incredible work done since Kutch’s devastation in 2001, Modi said the Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachch University was formed in 2003 and more than 35 new colleges have also been established.

Development prospects in Gujarat

He also talked about earthquake-proof district hospitals and more than 200 functional clinics in the area and said every household gets clean water from the holy Narmada river, a far cry from those days of scarcity.

Speaking about the development of the area after the earthquake, Modi said Kutch has the largest cement plants in the world today. It is second in the world in welding pipe manufacturing. “The world’s second-largest textile plant is in Kutch. Asia’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) came up in Kutch. The Kandla and Mundra ports handle 30 per cent of India’s cargo and Kutch produces 30 per cent salt in the country,” he said.

Remembering one of the ‘Panch Pran’ (five resolves) of “pride in our heritage” that he proclaimed from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the prime minister highlighted the prosperity and rich heritage of Kutch.

The Smriti Van Memorial in Bhuj and Veer Bal Smarak at Anjar are symbols of the shared pain of Kutch, Gujarat and the entire country, said Modi who earlier in the day inaugurated the two memorials dedicated to nearly 13,000 victims of the 2001 Kutch earthquake.

“Many emotions went through my heart today at the time of inaugurating the memorial. With all humility I may say that in commemorating the departed souls, the Smriti Van Memorial is at par with the 9/11 memorial in the US and the Hiroshima Memorial in Japan,” he said.

Modi said he remembers that when the Kutch earthquake occurred, he reached here on the second day itself. “I was not the chief minister of Gujarat then, I was a simple (BJP) party worker. I didn’t know in what way, and how many people I would be able to help. But I decided that I will be here among you all in that hour of grief. And when I became the chief minister, the experience of the service helped me a lot,” he said.