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PM Narendra Modi Arrives in Varanasi to Open Rs 760-Crore Ring Road, First Multi-Modal Terminal on Ganga

The Prime Minister also inaugurated two major national highways in his parliamentary constituency.


Updated:November 12, 2018, 7:28 PM IST
PM Narendra Modi Arrives in Varanasi to Open Rs 760-Crore Ring Road, First Multi-Modal Terminal on Ganga
Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks on at India's first multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river during its inaugural function, in Varanasi. (Image: PTI)

Lucknow/Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated an inland port in Varansi on the Ganga River as part of a big development push in his Lok Sabha constituency ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The multi-modal waterways terminal will allow the navigation of large vessels starting on the river between the holy city in Uttar Pradesh and and Haldia in West Bengal. The project was unveiled as the Prime Minister received India's first container vessel that sailed from Kolkata on the inland waterway on October 30, carrying cargo belonging to food and beverage giant PepsiCo India.

The vessel - MV Rabindranath Tagore - moved 16 containers, equivalent to 16 truckloads, on its inaugural journey. The vessel will make its return journey with fertilisers belonging to IFFCO that will be procured from its Phulpur plant near Allahabad.

Inaugurating projects worth a total of Rs 2,413 crore, the PM said the pilgrim city will witness a "confluence of nature, culture and adventure", and appealed to the people to "preserve the new face" of Kashi (Varanasi).

In a veiled attack on previous governments, Modi said, "Today is a historic day. Today Varanasi and the country (as a whole) is witnessing a development that should have taken place decades ago. But that did not happen."

Claiming that when he had initially spoken about launching a multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river, "people made fun and indulged in negative talks", the prime minister said, "But now, these projects are living examples of new India's new vision."

Referring to the multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river, Modi said the next generation was poised to witness a sea change in the transport sector.

"Now, the country wants only politics of development. People take their decisions on the basis of development and not on vote bank politics," he said.

The prime minister started his 35-minute speech in the local dialect and greeted the people on the occasion of "Chhath festival". He completed his speech with 'Har Har Mahadev'.

The Varanasi port will connect with the National Waterway-1 (Haldia-Varanasi stretch) is being developed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). It will enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 tonnes.

The project is being developed with technical assistance and investment support from the World Bank. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs. 5,369.18 crore, which will be shared between the Centre and the World Bank on a 50:50 ratio.

It entails construction of three multi-modal terminals (Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia), two inter-modal terminals and five roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal pairs.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated two major national highways in his parliamentary constituency.

The two roads have a combined length of 34 km and have been laid at a cost of Rs 1,571.95 crore. The 16.55-km Varanasi Ring Road Phase-I has been completed at a cost of Rs 759.36 crore, while the four-laning and construction of 17.25-km-long Babatpur-Varanasi Road on NH-56 has cost Rs 812.59 crore, said a statement from the PM's office.

The Babatpur Airport Highway will link Varanasi to the airport and go on to link Jaunpur, Sultanpur and Lucknow. With the flyover at Harhua and a road over bridge (ROB) at Tarna, the new road plan will reduce travel time from Varanasi to the airport, providing relief to the locals and tourists coming here, the statement said.

The Ring Road, with two ROBs and a flyover, is expected to reduce traffic, fuel usage and pollution on NH 56 (Lucknow-Varanasi), NH 233 (Azamgarh-Varanasi), NH 29 (Gorakhpur-Varanasi) and Ayodhya-Varanasi highway, the statement said.

Further, the ring road is expected to provide smooth road access to Sarnath, a renowned Buddhist pilgrimage site.

He also inaugurated two sewage infrastructure projects worth Rs 425.41 crore in Varanasi and laid the foundation stone for another project worth Rs 72.91 crore for Ramnagar.

The PM was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP state president Mahendra Nath Pandey, who is also the MP of the neighbouring Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency.

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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