Vanakkam Tamil Nadu!
Governor of Tamil Nadu Shri Banwarilal Purohit Ji, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Shri Palaniswami Ji, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Panneerselvam Ji, Speaker of Tamil Nadu Assembly Shri Dhanapal Ji, Industries Minister Shri Sampath Ji, Dignitaries, Ladies and gentlemen,
My dear Friends,
I am happy to be in Chennai today.I thank the people of this city for the warm welcome they have given me today.This city is full of energy and enthusiasm. It is a city of knowledge and creativity. From Chennai today, we begin key infrastructure projects.These projects are symbols of: Innovation and Indigenous development. These projects will further the growth of Tamil Nadu.
This programme is special because we lay the foundation to modernise the six hundred and thirty six kilometres long Grand Anicut Canal System.The impact of this is going to be very big.It will improve irrigation facilities for 2.27 lakh acres of land. Districts of Thanjavur and Pudukkottai will gain specially. I want to appreciate the farmers of Tamil Nadu for record food grain production and good use of water resources. For thousands of years, this Grand Anicut and its canal systems, have been the life-line of the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu.The Grand Anicut is a living testimony to our glorious past. It is also an inspiration to our Nation’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” goals.In the words of the famous Tamil poet Avvaiyaar
वरप्पु उयरा नीर उयरूम
नीर उयरा नेल उयरूम
नेल उयरा कुड़ी उयरूम
कुड़ी उयरा कोल उयरूम
कोल उयरा कोण उयरवान
When water levels rise, cultivation rises, people prosper and the state prospers. We have to do what-ever we can to conserve water.This is not only a national issue.It is a global subject. Always remember the Mantra of Per Drop More Crop, This will help future generations.
It would make everybody happy that we are inaugurating the nine kilometre stretch of the Chennai Metro Rail Phase One. This would go from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar.This project has been completed on schedule, despite the global pandemic.The civil construction activities were done by Indian Contractors. The Rolling stock has been procured locally. This is in line with the boost to Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The Chennai Metro is growing rapidly. In this year’s budget, over Rupees Sixty Three thousand crore have been set aside for a hundred and nineteen kilometres of Phase two of the project. This is one of the largest projects sanctioned for any city in one-go. The focus on urban transport will boost ‘Ease of Living’ for citizens here.
Improved connectivity brings convenience. It also helps commerce. The Chennai Beach
Ennore –Attipattu stretch of Golden Quadrilateral is a high traffic density route. There is a need to ensure faster freight movement between Chennai Port and Kamarajar Port. The fourth line between Chennai Beach and Attipattu will help in this respect. The electrification of Villupuram– Thanjavur– Thiruvarur project will be a great boon to the delta districts. One of the major things this two twenty eight kilometres line will help doing is to ensure faster movement of food grains.
No Indian can forget this day. Two years ago, the Pulwama Attack happened. We pay homage to all the martyrs we lost in that attack. We are proud of our security forces. Their bravery will continue to inspire generations.
Writing in the oldest language in the world,
Tamil, Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathi said :
आयुथम सेयवोम नल्ला काकीतम सेयवोम
आलेकल वाईप्पोम कल्वी सालाइकल वाईप्पोम
नडेयुम परप्पु मुनर वंडीकल सेयवोम
ग्न्यलम नडुनका वरुं कप्पलकल सेयवोम
Let us make weapons; let us make paper.
Let us make factories; let us make schools.
Let us make vehicles that can move and fly.
Let us make ships that can shake the world.
Inspired by this vision, India has undertaken a massive effort to become self-reliant in the defence sector. One of the two defence corridors is in Tamil Nadu. The corridor has already received investment commitments over Rupees Eight thousand one hundred crores. Today, I am proud to dedicate to the country one more warrior to protect our frontiers. I am proud to handover the indigenously designed and manufactured “Main Battle Tank Arjun Mark 1A”. It also uses indigenous ammunition. Tamil Nadu is already the leading automobile manufacturing hub of India.
Now, I see Tamil Nadu evolving as the Tank manufacturing hub of India. A tank made in Tamil Nadu will be used in our northern borders to keep the nation safe. This showcases India’s united spirit – Bharat’s Ekta Darshan. We will continue working to make our armed forces one of the most modern forces in the world. At the same time, the focus on making India Aatmanirbhar in the defence sector moves with full speed. Our armed forces signify India’s ethos of courage. They have shown time and again that they are fully capable of protecting our Motherland. Time and again they have also shown India believes in peace.But, India will protect our sovereignty at all costs. धीर भी है, वीर भी है , सैन्य शक्ति and धैर्य शक्ति of our forces are remarkable.
The Discovery Campus of IIT Madras will have a 2-lakh square metre infrastructure to house world-class research centres. I am sure that very soon, the Discovery Campus of IIT Madras will be a leading centre of discovery. It will draw the best talent from all over India.
One thing is certain- the world is looking at India with great enthusiasm and positivity. This is going to be India’s decade. And, this is because of the hard work and sweat of 130 crore Indians. The Government of India is committed to doing everything possible to support this surge of aspiration and innovation. This year’s Budget has once again showcased the reform commitment of the Government. It would make you happy that in this year’s Budget, special importance has been given to the development of India’s coastal areas.
India is proud of our fishermen communities. They are symbols of diligence and kindness. In the Budget there are provisions to ensure extra credit mechanisms for them. Infrastructure relating to fishing is being upgraded. Modern fishing harbours will
come up in five centres including Chennai. We are optimistic about seaweed farming. This will improve lives of coastal communities. For seaweed cultivation, a multi-purpose sea-weed park will come up in Tamil Nadu.
India is scaling up on physical and social infrastructure at rapid pace.Today, India has one of the biggest infra drives in the world. Just recently we have begun the movement to connect all our villages with internet connectivity. Similarly, India has the largest healthcare programme in the world. India is also transforming the education sector with importance given to out-of-the-box learning and technology. These developments will bring countless opportunities for the youth.
It is our honour to work towards preserving and celebrating the culture of Tamil Nadu. The culture of Tamil Nadu is popular globally.Today, I have a delightful message to convey to the Devendrakula Vellalar community sisters and brothers in Tamil Nadu. The Central Government has accepted their long-standing demand to be known as Devendrakula Velalar They will now be known by their heritage name and not the six to seven names listed in the Schedule to the Constitution. The draft Gazette to amend the Constitutional schedule to correct their name as Devendrakula Velalar has been approved by the central government. It will be placed before the Parliament before the start of the next session.I want to specially thank the Government of Tamil Nadu for the detailed study done on this demand.Their support to the demand has been long-standing.
I can never forget my meeting with representatives of the Devendrars in 2015 in Delhi.
Their sadness could be seen. Colonial rulers took away their pride and dignity. For decades nothing happened. They told me- they pleaded and pleaded to Governments but nothing changed. I told them one thing. I said that their name Devender rhymes with my own name- Narendra. I understand their emotions. This decision is more than a change of name. It is about justice, dignity and opportunity. We all have lots to learn from the culture of the Devendra Kula community. They celebrate harmony, friendship and brotherhood. Theirs was a civilisational movement. It shows their self-confidence and self pride — आत्म-गौरव.
Our Government has always taken care of the welfare and aspirations of our Tamil brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.It is my honour to have been the only Indian PM to visit Jaffna. Through development works we are ensuring welfare of Sri Lanka’s Tamil community. The resources given by our Government for Tamils have been much more than in the past. The projects include: Fifty thousand houses for displaced Tamils in North-Eastern Sri Lanka.Four thousand houses in the plantation areas. On the health side, we financed a free ambulance service which is widely used by the Tamil community. A hospital has been built in Dickoya. To boost connectivity, the railway network to Jaffna and to Mannar is being re-built .Flights have been established from Chennai to Jaffna.I feel happy to share that India has built the Jaffna Cultural Centre which we hope to open soon. The issue of Tamil rights has also been taken up by us consistently with Sri Lankan leaders. We are always committed to ensuring that they live with equality, justice peace and dignity.
The problem faced by our fishermen is long-standing. I do not wish to go into the history of the problem. But let me assure you that my Government will always protect their rightful interests. We have ensured early release whenever fishermen are apprehended
in Sri Lanka. More than sixteen hundred fishermen have been released during our tenure. Currently, there is no Indian fisherman in Sri Lankan custody. Similarly, three hundred and thirteen boats have also been released and we are working for the return of the rest of the boats.
Inspired by a human centric approach, India is making the world’s fight against COVID-19 stronger. We have to keep doing whatever we can to develop our nation and make the world a better place. This is what the makers of our Constitution wanted us to do.I once again congratulate the people of Tamil Nadu for the development works launched today.
Thank you very much.