Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that development was the only answer to violence in Chhattisgarh, apparently referring to Naxal activity in the state.
“I believe all sorts of violence has only one answer – development,” he said, addressing a rally in Bhilai after launching development projects worth Rs 22,000 crore. “It is the trust generated by the development that will put an end to all kind of violence.” The state will go to polls later this year.
Chhattisgarh has been facing a Naxalite insurgency for decades. In April, security forces gunned down eight suspected Naxalites in an encounter in Bijapur.
During his day-long visit to the state, Modi said that in order to create “an atmosphere of trust”, his government has ensured that a part of the earnings from natural resources is spent on the welfare of local populations, reported PTI. He said Chhattisgarh has received Rs 3,000 crore as additional funds from the Centre and the money would be spent on hospitals, schools, roads and toilets.
Modi also lauded the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government for changing the perception of Chhattisgarh in the minds of people, reported The Indian Express. “Chhattisgarh was earlier known for forests and tribals, now it’s known for ‘smart city’ Naya Raipur.”
Modi accused the previous United Progressive Alliance of ignoring Chhattisgarh. “Chief Minister Raman Singh had been demanding an Indian Institute of Technology in the state for a long time but his demand was ignored,” Modi said, adding that IIT-Bhilai was established under the National Democratic Alliance. He laid the foundation stone for Rs 1,100 crore project on Thursday.
Modi also launched an air service between Jagdalpur and Raipur. “It is my dream to see that one who wears ‘hawai chappal’, travels in a hawaai jahaz [airplane]”, reported PTI. He said the objective of the ‘Udaan’ scheme of the central government was to connect small cities and towns by air.