हजारीबाग Hazaribagh (HZD): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off Hazaribagh-Koderma DMU train after inaugurating Hazaribagh town railway station here, which falls on the Dhanbad Division of East Central Railway. Modi inaugurated the station and flagged off the train from the dais where he addressed the public.
The project, which started 16 years ago, is the first stage of the Hazaribagh-Koderma-Barkakana-Ranchi railway line of the East-Central Railway. The 79.7-km first stage project cost Rs 936 crore, according to sources in the railways.
Modi was in Hazaribagh for the third time in under a year to inaugurate the 70 km Koderma-Hazaribagh rail line and flag-off a DEMU service between the two stations. Including the Hazaribagh railway station, the stretch has seven new stations and two halts. However, he chose to dedicate most of his 28-minute speech to the ongoing e-auction of coal.
“The Railways is the backbone of the nation’s growth and for its development, the government has planned to develop it and desires to provide rail link with every town,” Modi said here.
Inaugurating Hazaribagh town railway station and then flagging off Hazaribagh-Koderma DMU, Modi said at a public meeting that the Railways play a significant role in both economic growth and development of the country. The Centre signed fresh MoUs with the government of Jharkhand to complete six major railway projects, including that of the Koderma-Hazaribagh-Ranchi rail project at the earliest, he said. These projects would be completed by March 2017 and both Centre and state would provide funds on fifty-fifty basis, Modi said.
Modi, who had the distinction of flagging off a train in Hazaribagh that saw its first train in the history of the railways, stated that Jharkhand possessed rich mineral resources and railway network in the entire Jharkhand could help transport the minerals through tracks.
The Centre signed fresh MoUs with the government of Jharkhand to complete six major railway projects, including that of the Koderma-Hazaribagh-Ranchi rail project at the earliest, he said.
Comparing Jharkhand with Australia for having the same type of natural resources, he said once natural resources of Jharkhand were utilised properly, the state would become the most developed one in the country.
“We are going to develop with the latest and modern technology and provide all amenities to passengers travelling by the trains. By modernising railways, we want to open more employment avenues for the unemployed,” Modi said.
Thanking farmers of Hazaribagh for providing land for the construction of 79.7-km Hazaribagh Koderma railway line of the East Central Railways, he also praised former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha for striving hard right from the days of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Modi emphasised on the fact that the coal auction, which is still in its initial stages, is all set to go well over the Rs.1.86 lakh crore loss estimate that the CAG had made in 2012. “We have auctioned off 15 coal blocks to date, but we have already received Rs. 75,000 crore,” said the PM, making sure the crowd repeated the figure after him. Modi said that no one from the previous government has yet apologised for what he termed as a loot of the country’s coal wealth. “Those who sinned, those who looted Jharkhand, they have no shame. They have troubled the nation so much,” said Modi. “Has anyone from the previous government apologised yet?” he asked the crowd, which roared back in the negative.
Modi said that only two of Jharkhand’s 40 blocks to go under the hammer has been auctioned yet, but they have already fetched Rs. 12,500 crore. “This money used to be looted…. Even the CAG has been proven wrong,” said the PM. He told his audience that they had lost their coal bit had not received any money in return to date. “When the CAG took his report to the Parliament, some people in the government had come up with The Theory of Zero back then,” he said, recalling the UPA-II government’s claim of zero loss.
Earlier, Modi had words of praise for former Union Minister and Hazaribagh MP Yashwant Sinha. Sinha’s son Jayant Sinha is the sitting MP of Hazaribagh. Telling the crowd that Sinha had championed the much-awaited project – whose foundation stone was laid in 1999 by the then-PM A.B. Vajpayee – Modi said that it was a sign of how the country had progressed in 60 years since Independence: “Hazaribagh is not small panchayat, it is a large town…. I was observing Yashwant Sinha since arriving here today. He looks happier than the day he took oath as a minister.”