Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 150 celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust, at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Sunday. (Photo: @PIB_India)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday renamed the Kolkata Port Trust after Bharatiya Jan Sangh founder Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee at an event to mark its 150th anniversary. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who met Modi on Saturday, skipped the sesquicentenary event today.
While addressing the gathering at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, Modi said, "The country has been benefitted from the inland waterways. Haldia and Benaras have been connected through the same. The development of waterways has improved Kolkata Port Trust's connectivity with industrial centres in east India, made trade easier for our neighbouring countries, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal."
Marking 150 years of Kolkata Port. Watch. https://t.co/gGycbT48P9
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 12, 2020
"Our country's coasts are gateways to development, the (central) government has started the Sagarmala programme to improve connectivity," he added.
The Prime Minister also said the port must be made into a "powerful symbol of New India" . "This (Kolkata) port represents industrial, spiritual and self-sufficiency aspirations of India. Today, when the port is celebrating its 150th anniversary, it is our responsibility to make it a powerful symbol of New India," he told the crowd.
Taking a swipe at Banerjee, who participated in the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act after meeting him on Saturday, Modi said the state government was not keen on implementing central schemes as it does not benefit "syndicates".
"The Centre is making every possible effort to develop West Bengal, its poor, Dalits, unprivileged and backward sections. As soon as the West Bengal government gives its approval for Centre's Ayushman Bharat Yojana and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi; people here will start receiving benefits of these schemes," he said.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister reiterated that the contentious Citizenship Act is not a law to revoke citizenship, but to grant it. He added that some people with vested interest are misguiding the country’s youth.
Speaking at a prayer meet to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda at Belur Math, Modi said, “There are a lot of questions among the youth about the new citizenship law, and some are being misled by rumours around it… it is our duty to clear their doubts.
“I repeat again, Citizenship act is not to revoke anyone’s citizenship, but it is to give citizenship. After independence, Mahatma Gandhiji and other big leaders of the time, all believed that India should give citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of Pakistan.”