Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the ‘Kosi Rail Mahasetu’ along with a slew of other rail projects for poll-bound Bihar and hit out at the previous UPA government for the “slow" progress in the development of railways in the state during its rule.
The prime minister dedicated the ‘Kosi Rail Mahasetu’ to the nation and inaugurated via video conference various projects related to electrification and new rail lines.
Kosi rail mega bridge was ‘dream project’ of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the then Railway minister Nitish Kumar, but after the Vajapyee government, speed on this project slowed, Modi said. “In 2003, Atal ji was the prime minister and Nitish ji railway minister when the new Kosi rail line was planned with an aim to solve the problems being faced by people of Mithila and Kosi," Modi said.
With this thinking, in 2003 the groundbreaking ceremony was done by Vajpayee but the next year, his government went and after that the speed of work on the Kosi rail line project slowed considerably, the prime minister said. “If the people of Mithilanchal and the people of Bihar had been cared for then work would have been done at a fast pace on the Kosi rail line project," he said.
“In this period, who was in charge of Railways, whose government it was, I do not want to go into that but the truth is that if the speed of work would have been the same (under our government) as was earlier then the project would have taken ages to be completed," Modi said, in an apparent attack at the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Modi also said 325 km rail line was commissioned in Bihar in five years before 2014, while 700 km has been commissioned in five years since 2014. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi were also present during the virtual event.
In yet another attack on the Congress, Modi accused the opposition of standing with middlemen and “deceiving" and “lying" to farmers. He stoutly defended the contentious farm sector reform bills passed in the Lok Sabha this week, asserting that they will act as a “protection shield" for farmers.
With opposition parties dubbing the three bills, which await passage in the Rajya Sabha, as “anti-farmers" and BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal quitting his government in protest, Modi refuted opposition criticism, saying these laws will unshackle farmers by allowing them to sell their produce anywhere by negotiating a better price.
He asserted that the government purchase of farm produce will continue, adding that the mechanism of minimum support price will be followed in the same way it always has.
Farmers of the country are aware and can see who are standing with middlemen, who “pocketed" profits meant for them, and opposing new opportunities being provided for them through these measures, he said. The prime minister said the Congress had also promised in its manifesto what his government has now done through these bills, as he attacked the opposition party for fanning protests against these proposed legislations.
Without naming it, he launched a blistering attack on the Congress, saying those who remained in power for decades are trying to “mislead" farmers and “lying" to them on the agriculture bills.
The Lok Sabha had passed two bills on Thursday and another bill earlier with the government asserting that they will open new avenues for farmers by unshackling them from existing mechanism and allowing them to enter into agreements with private parties to sell their produce.
(With PTI inputs)