PM inaugurates new tourist attractions, projects near Statue of Unity

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(Eds: Updating) Kevadiya (Guj), Oct 30 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat, inaugurated as many as 17 new projects including new tourist attractions near the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya in Narmada district on Friday.

Some of the major attractions inaugurated by Modi were Arogya Van, Ekta Mall, Children Nutrition Park, Sardar Patel Zoological Park or Jungle Safari, and a boat ride.

He also laid the foundation stone for four projects.

Modi first inaugurated Arogya Van (`health forest'), spread over 17 acres with a wide range of medicinal plants.

The sprawling garden, which boasts of five lakh plants of 380 species, also highlights the importance of Yoga, Ayurveda and meditation, an official release said.

The prime minister then inaugurated Ekta Mall, a unique store near the Statue of Unity where tourists can buy handloom and handicraft products from various states.

The two-storey air-conditioned complex is spread over 35,000 square feet and houses 20 emporia.

Modi, accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, visited several emporia. The prime minister spent significant time at stalls selling traditional items from Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East.

He showed keen interest in the processes involved in making them, an official said.

The PM next inaugurated a Children Nutrition Park, dubbed as the world's first such technology-driven theme park developed over 35,000 square meters. Its primary objective is to make children understand the importance of nutritious food, officials said.

The park has 47 attractions providing 'infotainment' with the underlying theme of 'Sahi Poshan Desh Roshan'.

Modi then inaugurated Jungle Safari, a state-of-the- art Zoological Park spread across 375 acres and seven levels.

It houses over 1,100 indigenous and exotic birds and animals of more than 100 species including tigers, lions, giraffes, zebras and leopards.

The Safari also boasts of two world's largest geodesic dome aviaries. The prime minister visited the aviaries and allowed parrots to sit on his arm.

The PM then inaugurated `Ekta Cruise', a ferry boat service which would cover the distance of 6 km from Shrestha Bharat Bhavan to the Statue of Unity within 40 minutes.

The boat can carry 200 persons. The prime minister also enjoyed a ride after the inauguration.

Other projects inaugurated by the PM included a navigation channel in Narmada river to facilitate boating, Garudeshwar weir downstream on the river, a new bridge across the river near Gora village, a bus bay terminus, home-stay facility for tourists and eco-tourism project near Khalwani village.

Late in the evening, the PM inaugurated the Unity Glow Garden, the first of its kind in India, developed in 3.61 acres with a glimmering array of illuminated installations.

Lastly, Modi inaugurated the Cactus Garden spread in 25 acres on the opposite bank of the river. It is home to more than 450 species with a total of 6 lakh plants.

The PM also launched a new website and a mobile app which will guide tourists visiting the area.

He also performed virtual stone-laying ceremony for government quarters, an administrative building, quarters for State Reserve Police personnel, and Adarsh Gram, a project of 400 houses for the resettlement of project-affected people fromfive villages around the Statue of Unity. PTI PJT PD RSY KRK KRK