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Uttarakhand: PM Modi lays foundation stone of Chardham project

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of an ambitious project for all-weather roads to ‘Chardham’ saying he wanted to drive Uttarakhand to new peaks of development so that lack of job opportunities does not force its youths to leave the state.

“There is an old saying in the hills of Uttrarakhand which means the waterbodies and youths of the mountains are not able to serve the land where they originate. “I have decided to prove this wrong. “I want to take Uttarakhand to new peaks of development where people are not forced by circumstances to leave their homes in the Himalayas and spend their lives in the dirty streets of cities in search of work,” Modi told a ‘Parivartan Maharally’ at the Parade Ground here after the foundation laying ceremony.

The 900-km Chardham Highway Development programme will entail an investment of Rs 12,000 crore. The project will ensure uninterrupted all-weather safe journey for pilgrims to the four Himalayan shrines- Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedarnath, which bore the brunt of the 2013 natural calamity. Promising people that he was going to drag Uttarakhand out of the “bottomless pit of corruption in which it was languishing under the present regime”, the PM said the state needs a double-engine, one at the Centre and the other in the state capital to pull it out of its woes.

Making a reference to the alleged scam in relief funds in Uttarakhand, he said even a scooter with a capacity of five liters of oil could drink 35 liters of it. “Five or 50 people cannot drag Uttarakhand out of the bottomless pit of corruption it is in. “It needs a double engine of the BJP for the huge effort, one in Delhi and the other in Dehradun,” he said, asking them to install a BJP government in the state after 2017 elections and give the party an opportunity to build an Uttarakhand envisioned by Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had created it.

Terming the project as a tribute to the thousands of devotees from all over India, who perished in the 2013 natural disaster in Uttarakhand, Modi said the all-weather roads will not only generate new employment opportunities for the youths in the hills but also enhance the sense of security of people coming to visit the chardham. Modi said it will give a boost to tourism by removing all fear from the minds of visitors bound for the Himalayan shrines about their safety along the disaster prone route in all sorts of weather.

He said the project has been conceived with the help of international consultants so that there is no disruption along the route in any season.

Explaining the delay in launching the project, Modi said he wanted to do something real for the development of the state and was not interested in doing politics or putting up a false show in the name of inaugurating development projects as was being done by some political parties.

He said a lot of preparation and study in consultation with international experts has gone into working out the blueprint of the all-weather road project to the four famous Himalayan shrines located in the state. The Prime Minister highlighted the steps taken by his government to provide free LPG connections to poor BPL households and helping women lead a healthy smoke-free life in the remote hill areas of the state. He also spoke of what he had done for the implementation of OROP and his campaign against corruption and black money and sought the blessings of the people of the state in his fight against graft.