Varanasi (UP) Nov 9 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made a fervent appeal to people to promote 'local for Diwali' big time and buy local products this festival season, saying it will give a new boost to the economy.
He also spoke about the agriculture reforms introduced by the government, saying they will connect farmers directly to the market and 'send middlemen out of the system'.
While inaugurating and laying foundation of various projects worth Rs 614 crore for his Lok Sabha constituency, Varanasi, via video conferencing, he said buying local products will not only strengthen local identity but will also brighten up Diwali for those who make them.
Extending festival greetings to the people, he said, 'You are seeing today that along with vocal for local, the mantra of local for Diwali is resonating everywhere.' 'Celebrating Diwali with local will give a new boost to the economy. I would like to say to the people of Varanasi and all countrymen that promote 'local for Diwali' big time,' he said.
'When every person will buy local products with pride, will talk about local products, hail them and take the message to others that our local products are so good, this message will go far,' Modi said.
'Going for local doesn't mean only purchasing 'diya' but everything you use in Diwali. It will encourage those making them,' the prime minister said and added in a lighter vein that by going local he doesn't mean 'throwing things you have bought already in the River Ganga'.
Highlighting various schemes launched by the government, Modi said under the Swamitva scheme, farmers will be issued property cards, which will not only help them get loans, but the 'game of grabbing their properties will also end'.
'The agriculture reforms will give direct benefit to farmers. They will be directly connected to the market and the middleman will be out of the system. The farmers of Purvanchal (eastern Uttar Pradesh) will also be benefitted from this,' he said.
The prime minister also said that Varanasi is witnessing all-round development in all sectors and this is giving a new identity to the city.
'The development in Varanasi is not only helping the people of Purvanchal, who now will not have to go to Delhi for their works, but also helping people from other parts of the country,' he added.
Starting his address in Bhojpuri with 'Har Har Mahadev', the prime minister appreciated the people of Varanasi for their 'social unity' in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
He hailed the farmers of Purvanchal, saying even during the pandemic, they worked hard in their fields and are witnessing good crops.
Modi also credited UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for the various development projects.
'The credit of these projects goes to the chief minister and his team of ministers and officers. Now with laying foundation of new projects, we are also inaugurating projects and the process will continue. Whatever is being done here is due to the blessing of Baba Vishwanath,' he said.
As the coronavirus situation improves, tourists will start coming and they will return with a 'good image' of the city, where dangling wires will go underground, ghats are beautified and LED lights illuminating the city, he said, adding that besides the rail network, the country's first inland water port has been set up in the city.
During his address, the prime minister talked in detail about the projects in his constituency and also interacted with basketball player Prashanti Singh, housewife Neelima Mehta and businessman Vipin Kumar Agarwal.
While talking to Neelima, the prime minister, after spotting a clean lane in which she was sitting, appreciated locals, and remarked, 'one can also have food sitting in this lane'.
Neelima spoke about how the Smart City and other projects have changed the city with long pending water, sewer and other problems being resolved.
When the prime minister asked how it feels in the night when LED lights glow, Neelima replied, 'It is a wonderful feeling.' From Prashanti, the prime minister asked about Diwali preparations in the city and how sports activities were going on amid the pandemic The basketball player urged the prime minister to consider setting up a Khelo India Centre of Excellence in Varanasi too and was assured that the suggestion would be looked into.
Adityanath, who joined the event from Lucknow, said that in his six-year tenure as MP the 'PM gave projects worth Rs 18 thousand crores to Varanasi. While projects of about Rs 9 thousand crores have been launched the rest are in pipeline.' These projects, he said, have give a new identity to Varanasi worldwide.
The projects inaugurated by the prime minister include upgradation of Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital Ramnagar, sewerage related works, infrastructure facilities for protection and conservation of cows, a housing complex for players in Sampurnanand Stadium, multi-purpose seed storehouse and Sarnath Light and Sound show.
During the event, the prime minister also laid the foundation stone for projects including redevelopment of Dashashwamedh Ghat and Khidkiya Ghat, barracks for PAC police force, upgradation of the multi-purpose hall in Girija Devi Sanskritik Sankul, repair work of roads in the city and development of tourist places. PTI ABN DV DV