The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the New Integrated Terminal Building of Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair via video conferencing today. With a construction cost of around Rs 710 crores, the new terminal building is capable of handling about 50 lakh passengers annually.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that even though today’s program is taking place in Port Blair, the entire nation is keenly looking towards the Union Territory as the demand for increasing the passenger handling capacity of Veer Savarkar International Airport is being fulfilled. The Prime Minister also expressed his desire to be present on the occasion as he could experience the joyous environment and happy faces of the citizens. “Those who wished to visit Andaman also demanded a larger capacity airport”, he added.
Further speaking on the growing desire for expansion of the airport facilities at Port Blair, the Prime Minister informed that till now the existing terminal had the capacity to handle 4000 tourists, and the new terminal has taken this number to 11,000 and 10 planes can be parked at any given time on the airport now. More flights and tourists will bring more jobs to the area, he said. Port Blair’s new terminal building will increase Ease of Travel, Ease of Doing Business and connectivity, the Prime Minister added.
“The scope of development has been limited to big cities for a long time in India”, the Prime Minister said, as he highlighted that the Adivasi and island regions of the country were devoid of development for a long time. He said that in the last 9 years, the present government has not only rectified the mistakes of the governments of the past with utmost sensitivity but also come up with a new system. “A new model of development of inclusion has come up in India. The model is of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’”, the Prime Minister said. He explained that this model of development is very comprehensive and includes the development of every region and every section of society, and every aspect of life such as education, health and connectivity.
The Prime Minister said that in the last 9 years, a new story of development has been written in Andaman. In the 9 years of the previous government Andaman and Nicobar received a budget of Rs 23,000 crores, whereas in the last nine years of the present government, a budget of about Rs 48,000 crores was allocated for Andaman and Nicobar. Similarly, during the 9 years of the previous government 28,000 households were connected with piped water, this number in the last 9 years is 50,000. Today, the Prime Minister continued, everyone in Andaman and Nicobar has a bank account and the facility of One Nation One Ration Card. The current government is also responsible for the medical college in Port Blair whereas, earlier, there was no medical college in the Union territory. Earlier, the Internet was solely dependent on satellites, now, he said, the present government took the initiative of laying the undersea optical fiber of hundreds of kilometres.
The Prime Minister said that this expansion of facilities is giving momentum to tourism here. Mobile connectivity, health infrastructure, airport facilities and roads promote the arrival of tourists. That is why, said Shri Modi, tourist footfall has doubled as compared to 2014. Adventure tourism is also thriving and the numbers will rise manifold in the coming years.
“Andaman is becoming a living and breathing example of the maha-mantra of development and heritage going hand in hand”, the Prime Minister remarked. The Prime Minister noted that even though the Tiranga was hoisted in Andaman way before it was hoisted in the Red Fort, one could only find signs of slavery on the island. He expressed gratitude for getting the opportunity to hoist the national flag at the exact same spot where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose once hoisted the Tiranga. The Prime Minister highlighted that it was the present government that renamed Ross Island as Netaji Subhas Island, Havelock Island as Swaraj Island and Neil Island as Shaheed Island. He also touched upon renaming the 21 islands after the Param Vir Chakra awardees. “Development of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has become a source of inspiration for the youth of the country”, he added.
The Prime Minister said that India would have scaled new heights in the last 75 years of Independence as there is no doubt about the capabilities of the Indians. However, the Prime Minister emphasized, corruption and dynastic politics always did injustice to the strengths of the common citizens. The Prime Minister also highlighted the opportunistic politics of certain parties. He criticised the politics of casteism and corruption. He also criticized the acceptance of the people under the cloud of corruption and who, in some cases, are on bail and even convicted. He attacked the mentality of holding the Constitution hostage. He pointed out that such forces are focused on selfish family gains rather than on the development of common citizens. Shri Modi underlined the strength of the youth of India in the fields of defence and startup and lamented how no justice was done for this strength of the youth.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to dedicate ourselves to the development of the country. The Prime Minister said that there are many examples of islands and small coastal countries that have made unprecedented progress in the world today. He highlighted that even though the path of progress is filled with challenges, development arrives with all kinds of solutions. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the development work being done in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will further strengthen the entire region.